U.S., Russia Offer Fuel Talks to Iran

Russia and the United States have offered to hold talks with Iran on the provision of nuclear fuel for its Tehran medical reactor, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

Iran wants to enrich uranium to the 20 percent concentration needed for a reactor because it hasn’t been able to get imported fuel, Lavrov told reporters in Jerusalem.

Iran said Tuesday that it would continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent for the reactor, though only when needed. The United Nations

Security Council on June 9 imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear development.

“I very much hope that Iran will agree to this and this will give an opportunity to prevent the deterioration of the situation,” Lavrov said.

Russia and the United States consulted the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency before proposing the negotiations, which are aimed at eliminating the need for Iran to enrich its own uranium, he said.

The Security Council left open the possibility of diplomatic talks to resolve the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program after imposing the latest sanctions. Iran rejects allegations that the atomic work may be hiding a weapons program, saying the technology is for civilian purposes such as power generation and the production of medical isotopes. It has rebuffed Security Council demands to suspend uranium enrichment.

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