TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday expressed optimism Tehran would soon strike a deal with the international community to provide his country with nuclear fuel — the latest in a new Iranian diplomatic push to stave off fresh U.N. sanctions over its controversial nuclear program.
As part of the push, top Iranian officials have been courting some non-permanent Security Council members to pre-empt possible sanctions.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki held talks with Bosnian leaders Monday after making little progress in Austria over the weekend. And last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Uganda, another non-permanent member of the 15-nation Council.
On Tuesday, Mottaki held talks with visiting Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim.
“We are hopeful to see a fuel exchange go into operation in the near future,” Mottaki said, adding that Brazil, also a non-permanent member, could play a more effective decision-making role in the Council.
The U.S. and its allies fear Iran’s nuclear program aims to produce nuclear weapons, and are pushing for tougher sanctions in the Security Council over Tehran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment — a process that can lead to nuclear weapon making.
The call for sanctions stepped up after Iran last year rejected a U.N.-backed plan that offered nuclear fuel rods to a Tehran reactor in exchange for Iran’s stock of lower-level enriched uranium. The swap would have curbed Iran’s c… >>>