Report: In Effort to End Sanctions, Iran Negotiating Nuclear Swap

The Daily Telegraph reports that Turkish-led secret talks are underway in order to reduce Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium.

Turkey, along with the U.S., Russia and France are currently engaged in secret negotiations with Iran in a bid to reduce Iranian uranium stockpiles and suspend the nation's enrichment processes, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Thrursday.

The plan, if agreed upon, would force Iran to transfer approximately 1000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium and 30 kilograms (its entire stockpile) of 20-percent enriched uranium to a safe location.

bushehr - Reuters - December 9 2010

Russia and France, in exchange, would provide Iran with ready-made fuel rods.

According to diplomatic sources, Turkish and Iranian teams have met several times to iron out the details of the deal, which they expect to bring to next month's meeting of the P5 + 1 (an international body comprised of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany).

Turkey has long cautioned that harsher sanctions against Iran would threaten regional stability.

Opinions in the United States regarding the Turkish-led negotiations are mixed. A group of U.S. Senators last month called on President Barack Obama to reject any deal until Iran completely abandons uranium enrichment efforts.

Earlier this year, the U.S. rejected a deal signed between Turkey, Brazil and Iran regarding the transfer of 1,200 kilograms of Iran's low-enriched uranium stockpile to Ankara, in exchange for fuel rods. At the time, U.S. officials stated that Iran had already enriched more uranium, thereby defeating the purpose of the swap.

In the months since the failed deal, according to The Daily Telegraph, Iran has produced another 1,500 kilos of low-enriched uranium, and some of that uranium has been enriched even further.