Iran warning on nuclear fuel


Iran has the technology to enrich uranium and could provide nuclear fuel for a research reactor itself if there is no deal with world powers, an official said in remarks published today.

The suggestion that Iran nmay embark on further refining of uranium is likely to add to concern among Western powers, which suspect Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear bombs.

Ali Shirzadian, a spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, made the comment ahead of October 19th talks in Vienna on a tentative agreement with world powers on the external supply of nuclear fuel to a reactor in Tehran.

Western diplomats say Iran agreed in principle at talks at the beginning of October in Geneva to send about 80 per cent of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for processing and return to Tehran to replenish dwindling fuel stocks for a reactor in the capital that produces isotopes for cancer care.

Iranian, Russian, French, US and UN nuclear energy agency officials will meet in Vienna to flesh out conditions, such as amounts of uranium to be sent abroad, a timetable, and non-proliferation guarantees governing use of the material.

"Iran fully owns the enrichment technology and therefore it will sit at the negotiating table with power," Mr Shirzadian said in comments carried by Iranian newspapers.

If the talks failed, he said Iran would write a letter to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "that Iran would act on its own to supply the fuel for the Tehran reactor", the Poul newspaper quoted him as saying.