TEHRAN, (Reuters) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that “some countries” had offered to provide Iran with uranium enriched to 20 percent for use as nuclear fuel, the official IRNA news agency reported.
“There have been some proposals by individual countries and groups of countries. We are ready to hold talks with anyone interested. Our experts will soon start talks with those sellers,” he said.
Western diplomats say Iran agreed in principle at last week’s talks in Geneva to send about 80 percent of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for further processing and return to Tehran to replenish dwindling fuel stocks for a reactor in the capital that produces isotopes for cancer care.
“Representatives of some countries have said that France is ready to provide nuclear fuel for the Tehran reactor … they (France) should officially propose it, then we will review it,” state broadcaster IRIB quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
The president said that so far no purchasing agreement had been finalised.
IRNA quoted him as saying the talks with six world powers in Geneva “were constructive and a positive step forward.”
The West suspects the Islamic state is covertly seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies it. Enriched uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants and, if refined much further, provide material for nuclear bombs.
Last Thursday’s talks in Geneva are expected to win Iran a reprieve from tougher U.N. sanctions, although Western powers are likely to be wary of any attempt by Tehran to buy time to develop its nuclear programme.