Iran ready to start talks on nuclear fuel swap deal: Mottaki

Iran is ready to start immediately talks with Western powers over a nuclear fuel swap deal it signed in May.

Istanbul: Iran is ready to start immediately talks with Western powers over a nuclear fuel swap deal it signed in May, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here Sunday.

Mottaki told reporters that Tehran would on Monday hand to the UN atomic agency its response to questions raised by the Vienna group -- the United States, Russia and France -- on the fuel swap deal.

"Tomorrow this... letter will be conveyed to the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) in Vienna and then we can immediately start negotiations for the details of exchanging of the fuel," he said in English.

"All the details on how that exchange should take place will come out through the discussions and talks in Vienna."

Under the deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil in May, Iran agreed to send 1,200 kilogrammes of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Turkey to be supplied at a later date with high-enriched uranium by Russia and France.

But it was immediately cold-shouldered by world powers, which backed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran on June 9 over its refusal to halt its sensitive uranium enrichment programme.

The Vienna group expressed reservations and raised several questions regarding the deal, but said they were nonetheless ready to talk to Iran to clear up the doubts.

Mottaki, who was speaking after talks with his Turkish and Brazilian counterparts Ahmet Davutoglu and Celso Amorim, said Iran would like to see both of these countries take part in the talks, but said it was not a condition.

"The Vienna group talks with Iran either with the presence of Turkey and Brazil or not," he said.

Earlier Sunday, Davutoglu had said that Turkey and Brazil were ready to contribute to the talks only if they were invited by all the parties concerned.

Mottaki gave few details on the response Iran would hand to the IAEA on Monday, saying that it would contain Iran`s "own views and what we will talk about in Vienna."

Iran`s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on Saturday that Tehran`s response would be a general one and that the technical response to the Vienna group`s questions would be "discussed probably in a meeting".

He did not specify when such a meeting might take place.

Bureau Report

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