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Iran to talk with UNSC members on N-deal

Last Updated: Monday, April 19, 2010 - 09:00

Tehran: Iran plans to hold talks with all 15 members of the UN Security Council in an effort to break a deadlock over a nuclear fuel deal, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said.

Mottaki said the deal could be finalised in "two weeks" if all sides showed the necessary will.

"In the coming days, we have plans to have direct talks with 14 members of the Security Council and one (set of) indirect talks with a member," he said yesterday, in reference to Washington, which does not have diplomatic ties with Tehran.

"The talks will focus on the fuel exchange (deal). They will be conducted by Iran`s missions in those countries," he told a press conference after a two-day nuclear disarmament conference hosted by Tehran.

An October 2009 UN-drafted deal to supply nuclear fuel for a Tehran research reactor by shipping out Iran`s low-enriched uranium in return for higher-grade nuclear fuel produced by Russia and France has hit a deadlock.

The two groups are now at loggerheads as Iran insists it will only be open to a simultaneous exchange to take place inside the Islamic republic, a condition rejected by the world powers.

Washington is leading global efforts to impose a fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran amid the deadlock, in a bid to halt Tehran`s nuclear programme which it suspects masks a weapons drive, a charge denied by Iran.

While the United States, Britain and France have shown readiness for new sanctions, the other two UN veto-wielding members -- Russia and China -- have been hesitant to back such a proposal.

Mottaki said a deal was still possible. "In principle the issue of fuel exchange has been agreed upon... We think... details could be worked out,” he said, adding that the deal could be operational "within two weeks”.

Tensions have risen further after Washington last week unveiled its new nuclear policy, which officials in Tehran say raises a "nuclear threat" against their country.

Mottaki said any attack against Iran would be like "playing with fire”.

"Those who think of attacking Iran are playing with fire. They will very well realise the consequences of their actions," English-language Press TV quoted him as saying at the press conference.

"We don`t believe they will attack. We do not see they have the capacity on the ground."


First Published: Monday, April 19, 2010 - 09:00
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