Iran Nuclear NewsIran determined to be nuclear fuel exporter

Iran determined to be nuclear fuel exporter

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Reuters: Iran, accused by Washington of developing nuclear weapons, is determined to become one of the world’s suppliers of nuclear fuel, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday. The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, last year proposed a five-year moratorium on the creation of new nuclear fuel production facilities around the world, which would include Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities.
Reuters

By Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA – Iran, accused by Washington of developing nuclear weapons, is determined to become one of the world’s suppliers of nuclear fuel, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday.

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, last year proposed a five-year moratorium on the creation of new nuclear fuel production facilities around the world, which would include Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities.

But Sirus Naseri, a senior member of Iran’s delegation to the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said such a moratorium would be tantamount to handing the world’s few existing nuclear fuel suppliers a monopoly.

“The five-year moratorium proposed by ElBaradei is equal to exclusivity of supply,” Naseri told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Iran says its programme is aimed solely at the generation of electricity but the Americans and the European Union feel its nuclear fuel production capabilities could one day be used to produce high-enriched uranium for use in atomic weapons.

Uranium enriched to a lower level is used as fuel in power stations.

Naseri denied that his comments were an outright rejection of ElBaradei’s proposal, but they appeared to leave little room for Iranian participation in ElBaradei’s proposed freeze on new enrichment programmes.

They also seemed to rule out any dismantling of Iran’s enrichment programme as demanded by the EU, which is trying to negotiate a solution to an international dispute over whether Iran’s nuclear intentions are peaceful.

IRAN WILL BE A “PLAYER”

Another Iranian official said the Europeans were simply trying to clear the way for themselves and Russia to have a monopoly on fuel supply in the region.

Naseri said Iran, the second biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), wanted to ensure it remained a supplier of energy to the world.

“With diminishing exports of oil, Iran has to be a supplier. Iran is used to being a net supplier of energy rather than a sole receiver,” he said.

“We are definitely going to be a player,” he added.

ElBaradei’s moratorium would not apply to fully developed uranium enrichment programmes such as the U.S., Canadian, and Brazilian programmes, nor would it apply to Dutch-British-German uranium enrichment consortium Urenco.

“In the next 10-15 years, with the anticipated expansion of nuclear power generation globally, suppliers of nuclear fuel will really become scarce,” Naseri said.

“I’m certain that most countries in the world would find it dangerous to leave this in the hands of very few who can set the price, terms and conditions at their wish,” he added.

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