Telegraph: Iran accused of plotting to break UN sanctions by importing uranium
30 December 2009 | 01:22 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. Iran is reported to be attempting to import 1,350 tons of uranium from Kazakhstan in violation of UN sanctions, according to an intelligence report. In what suggested a new act of defiance by the regime as it develops a "peaceful" nuclear programme, a leaked intelligence report said Iran was preparing to take delivery of purified uranium ore from the former Soviet republic in a GBP 280 million deal that could be completed within weeks.An official from the country that drew up the report, said rogue employees of the Kazakh government were likely to be behind the possible deal without the knowledge of their government, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Any importation of uranium would be highly significant because Iran is thought to be running short of the material, which it needs to maintain its enrichment programme.Iran is under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions for refusing to freeze its enrichment programme and other activities that could lead to nuclear weapons production.The Iranian foreign ministry said earlier that it was ready to exchange its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel on foreign soil.Under an arrangement brokered by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran would be supplied with 20 per cent enriched nuclear fuel for a research reactor in Tehran in return for it giving up most of its stocks of low-enriched uranium. This would prevent it from having adequate supplies in the country to refine uranium to a grade which could arm a nuclear warhead.Ramin Mehmanparast, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, said that Iran was ready for "fuel swap in several stages and has said that this can be an opportunity for the two sides" to build confidence.
"If this principle is accepted by the other party, we can discuss other details, mainly the location of this exchange. Some have named Japan, Brazil, Turkey or even [Iran's] Kish Island. All this can be discussed."
However Iran has held out this possibility before without reaching agreement.
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