New York: A nuclear-fuel swap worked out by Brazil and Turkey for Iran could open the door for further cooperation between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.
"If accepted and implemented (by the International Atomic Energy Agency), it could serve as an important confidence-building measure and open the door for a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue," Ban said at a news conference at UN headquarters in New York.
"I have stated repeatedly that Iran should show greater transparency about its nuclear programme," Ban said. "Let me stress once again the importance of Iran`s full cooperation with the IAEA and full compliance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions."
Iranian nuclear authority, Ali-Akbar Salehi, on Monday informed the IAEA of the nuclear-fuel deal in a letter to IAEA director general, Yukiya Amano. The letter said Iran has agreed to ship low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for medium-enriched uranium fuel for use in medical treatment.
Ban said he met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul over the weekend and welcomed his diplomatic efforts to resolve "international tensions over Iran`s nuclear programme, undertaken in tandem with Brazil”.
Ban said he plans to discuss the issue with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Rio de Janeiro when he attends a meeting there on Thursday.
When Erdogen and Lula announced the deal in Tehran last week with Iran`s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it was met with scepticism by most Western capitals. Ban now said it could work to improve the chance for a solution in Iran`s suspected nuclear programme.
A nuclear-fuel swap was worked out last year by the IAEA, but it involved Russia and France in the reprocessing of Tehran`s enriched uranium into fuel for civilian uses. Tehran rejected that deal.