Iran to propose new version of nuclear fuel swap at Istanbul talks
Expectations are low for a breakthrough on the nuclear dispute which led last year to tightened U.N. and unilateral sanctions against Iran, which many countries fear is pursuing nuclear weapons capability.
Iran will propose a new version of a nuclear fuel swap at talks in Istanbul this weekend with world powers that have tightened sanctions on Tehran due to concerns about its atomic activities, Al Arabiya television reported on Thursday.
The Saudi-owned TV news channel did not identify the "sources familiar with the plan" that appeared to be a revised version of a deal which was agreed to in principle at a previous round of talks in 2009 but then fell apart.
Western analysts and diplomats said any such offer was unlikely to be acceptable to the other parties which will meet with Iran in Istanbul on Friday and Saturday.
Expectations are low for a breakthrough on the nuclear dispute which led last year to tightened U.N. and unilateral sanctions against Iran, which many countries fear is pursuing nuclear weapons capability, something Tehran denies, saying its program is for peaceful purposes.
Al Arabiya said Iran would offer to ship 1,000 kg of its low enriched uranium (LEU) and 40 kg of other uranium, presumably a reference to fuel enriched to 20 percent purity, abroad for further processing. Iranian officials were not immediately available to comment on the report.
The other countries at Istanbul -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany -- are unlikely to accept such an offer as it would not mean a sufficient amount of LEU would be shipped out of Iran which has continued to build up its stockpile of the material, rejecting repeated demands from the U.N. Security Council to suspend enrichment.
Enriched uranium can be used as fuel for power stations or provide material for bombs if refined much further.
"I'm very, very skeptical about it. I don't think the Americans can accept such a proposal," one European diplomat in Vienna, where the U.N. nuclear watchdog is based, said about the reported Iranian proposal.