We'll make our own N-fuel, Iran warns West

We'll make our own N-fuel, Iran warns West


The warning was a show of defiance and a hardening in Iran’s stance over its controversial nuclear programme, which, the West fears, masks an effort to make nuclear weapons. Tehran insists the programme is only for peaceful, electricity production purposes and that it has no intention of making a bomb.

“We have given them an ultimatum. There is one month left, and that is by the end of January,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, speaking on state television.
However, even if Tehran started working on the fuel production immediately, it would likely take years before it can master the technology to turn uranium, enriched to the level of 20 per cent, into rods that make the fuel. Iran dismissed an end-of-2009 deadline imposed by the Obama administration and the West to accept a UN-drafted deal to swap most of its enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. The deal would have reduced Iran’s stockpile of low enriched uranium, limiting — at least for the moment — its capabilities to make nuclear weapons.

The US and its allies have demanded that Iran accept the terms of the UN-brokered plan without changes.
Instead, Tehran came up with a counterproposal: to have the West either sell nuclear fuel to Iran, or swap its nuclear fuel for Iran’s enriched uranium in smaller batches instead of at once as the UN plan calls for.
This is unacceptable to the West because it would leave Tehran with enough enriched material to make nuclear arms.

Diplomatic effort
The UN deal has been the centerpiece of the West’s diplomatic effort towards Iran.
Under the plan, drafted in November, Iran would export most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium for further enrichment in Russia and France, where it would be converted into fuel rods. The rods, which Iran needs for a research reactor in Tehran, would be returned to the country about a year later.

Exporting uranium would temporarily leave Iran without enough stockpiles to further enrich it into the material for a nuclear warhead, and the rods that are returned could not be used to make weapons.

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