Iran nuclear fuel swap deal ‘still alive:’ Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran’s nuclear fuel swap deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey last month was “still alive,” state television reported on its website on Tuesday.

“The Tehran declaration is still alive and can play a role in international relations even if the arrogant (Western) powers are upset and angry,” he said in a meeting with visiting Turkish parliament speaker Mehmet Ali Shahin.

Under the May 17 accord with Brazil and Turkey, Iran agreed to send 1,200 kilogrammes of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey, after which the Islamic republic, at a later date, would be supplied with higher grade fuel from Russia and France for a research reactor.

The proposal aimed to counter an arrangement drafted by the UN atomic watchdog that had been deadlocked for several months.

The May 17 offer, however, was cold-shouldered by world powers which, led by Washington, imposed a fourth set of UN sanctions on Iran last week for refusing to halt its sensitive uranium enrichment programme.

The West suspects the enrichment masks a nuclear weapons drive, a charge denied by Tehran.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday that Tehran was to protest against the sanctions resolution by sending separate letters to all 15 members of the UN Security Council.

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