Iran ready to halt 20% nuclear enrichment: Prez

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 09:27

Tehran: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
has reiterated Tehran`s readiness to "immediately" stop production of low enriched uranium of 20 per cent, provided
world powers give it the nuclear material.

"If they give us the 20 per cent (enriched) fuel, we will
immediately halt 20 per cent (enrichment)," Ahmadinejad said
in an interview aired live on Iranian state-run television repeating his comments to the New York Times when he was in New York to attend the UN General Assembly in late September.

The UN Security Council has slapped four rounds of
sanctions on Iran to get it to suspend uranium enrichment, a
process which can produce fuel for a reactor but which it says
-- contrary to Ahmadinejad`s assertion -- can also be used in
a nuclear warhead.

Iran started enriching uranium at 20 per cent level in
February 2010 after failed negotiation over a fuel swap which
would have seen Iran shipping out its 3.5 per cent enriched
uranium in exchange for 20 per cent fuel from Russia and
France.

According to figures given by the International Atomic
Energy Agency published in September Iran has produced 70
kilos (155 pounds) of 20 per cent enriched uranium.
"Production of 20 per cent (enriched) fuel is not economical. It is expensive and there is no (export) market
that would to justify continuing to operate the plant," he
added in his national address.

Ahmadinejad insisted that repeating Iran`s readiness to
give up 20 per cent enrichment was "a way to disarm (world
powers) ... who say 20 per cent means one step closer to the
bomb."

He added, however, that "we need fuel to 3.5 per cent for
our plants and research."

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 09:27

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