JAKARTA, (Reuters) – Iran is seriously considering a Russian offer to enrich uranium for Tehran, but needs to discuss further the timing and place for any enrichment, its foreign minister said on Thursday.
Discussions between Iran and Russia over the offer ended on Tuesday with an agreement to continue talks this week during a visit to Tehran by the head of Moscow’s nuclear agency.
However, Iran showed few signs on Tuesday that it was ready to strike a deal with Russia that could allay fears it wants nuclear arms and avert possible U.N. sanctions.
“There must be some new elements in that proposal. If you ask about the main elements I will tell you — the timing and place,” Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters after meeting his Indonesian counterpart in Jakarta.
“I believe the Russian proposal can be considered seriously and may be reaching a kind of compromise,” Mottaki added, speaking in English.
Iran says its nuclear programme will only be used to generate electricity, not make nuclear arms as the West fears.
The United States and the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany, the countries pressing Iran hardest on its nuclear plans, are looking ahead to March 6 when the U.N. nuclear watchdog is to report on Iran to the U.N. Security Council.
Washington wants sanctions against Iran, although veto-wielding members of the Security Council, Russia and China, are cool to the idea.
Iran totally rejects the move.
“We believe that the Security Council is not a tool for specific countries to use it against other independent countries. We believe the time for tough language is over. The time for (the) unilateral approach is over,” Mottaki said.