ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey is ready to store Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile as part of a draft deal to help quell international concern over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities, media reports said Saturday, citing Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
“There is no problem on the Turkish side with storing low-grade uranium in Turkey… We cannot say no,” Yildiz was quoted as telling reporters Friday.
There has so far been no such official request, the minister underlined, adding that the issue was being discussed.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the US administration had told Iran that it is willing to allow the country to send its uranium stockpile to any of several nations, including Turkey, for safekeeping.
Citing unnamed administration officials and diplomats, the newspaper said the overtures had been made through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with the agency’s General director Mohamed ElBaradei, acting as the intermediary.
But Iran has ignored all of the proposals, The New York Times said.
Under a plan put forward by IAEA on October 21, Iran would ship out its low-enriched uranium, equivalent to more than 70 percent of its estimated stocks, and Russia would further enrich it before France turned it into fuel for a Tehran reactor.
The proposals are designed to assuage fears that Iran could otherwise divert some of the stocks and enrich them further to the much higher levels of purity required to make an atomic bomb.
World powers have endorsed the plan but Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is peaceful, has yet to give a final response.