Iran may take Brazil mediation to revive atom deal

(Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has agreed “in principle” to Brazilian mediation to revive a U.N.-brokered nuclear fuel swap deal with world powers, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Wednesday.

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The powers see the deal as a way to remove much of Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile to minimize the risk of this being used for atomic bombs, while Iran would get specially processed fuel to keep its nuclear medicine program running.

But the proposal broke down over Iran’s insistence on doing the swap only on its territory, rather than shipping its LEU abroad in advance, and in smaller, phased amounts, meaning no meaningful cut in a stockpile which grows day by day.

“In a telephone conversation with his Venezuelan counterpart, Ahmadinejad agreed in principle to Brazil’s mediation over the nuclear fuel deal,” Fars said, quoting a statement issued by Ahmadinejad’s office.

The pact conceived in talks conducted by the U.N. nuclear watchdog last October required Iran to ship 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) of its LEU, enough for one atom bomb if enriched to high grade, to Russia and France for conversion into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which makes isotopes for cancer treatment.

The three powers have ruled out rewriting the deal’s conditions as the Islamic Republic demands.

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