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Iran says ready to study Russia's nuclear proposal
Updated: 2005-12-29 09:28

A senior Iranian official said on Wednesday that Iran is ready to study a proposal put forward by Russia to enrich uranium on the Russian soil, reported local ISNA news agency.

Javad Vaidi, member of the Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying that "the Russian proposal is based on the establishment of a joint Iran-Russia company on Russian soil for enrichment of uranium."

He said that the Russian proposal can be studied, "so that its economic, technical and scientific aspects will be clear."

An Iranian worker lifts a barrel of 'yellow cake' to feed it into the processing line of Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan, Iran August 8, 2005.
An Iranian worker lifts a barrel of 'yellow cake' to feed it into the processing line of Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan, Iran August 8, 2005. [Reuters/file]
The proposal, firstly revealed in November but rejected by Tehran, is aimed to provide what the European Union (EU), which is the longtime broker of the Iranian nuclear issue, and the United States ask for as objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear research will not be used for military purposes.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday that it had handed over a document to formally inform the Islamic Republic of the proposal.

Iran has said previously that the whole process of its uranium enrichment must be held in its own territory, arguing that it was a legal right enshrined by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

However, Vaidi said that the Russian proposal does not deny Iran's right to enrich uranium and can be viewed as an exchange of nuclear technology between signatories of the NPT.

On Tuesday, Alaeddin Borujerdi, Chairman of Iran's Majlis ( parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said that Russia's proposal showed a "positive response to Iran's call for partnership with other states in its civilian nuclear program" but reiterated Tehran's position of enrichment at home.

Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said on Monday that Iran welcomes Russia and other countries to participate in its uranium enrichment program, but the cooperation must be based on Iran's principles of uranium enrichment inside the country.

Enriched uranium can be used both for generating electricity and for building nuclear weapons.

Iran is currently under the pressure from EU to accept the Russian proposal.

Tehran and the EU have been scheduled to hold a new round of talks on January 18 to exchange views on some key points, including uranium enrichment.

It is predicted that a failure of the next round of negotiations would lead to the EU's effort to refer Iran's case to the UN Security Council.

The United States accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons secretly, a charge rejected by Tehran as politically motivated.

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