October 21, 2009

IAEA lays out draft nuclear deal for Iran, West

Press TV - October 21, 2009 14:15:18 GMT

The UN nuclear watchdog says Iran, the US, Russia and France should answer by Friday.

Iran and Western powers move to consider a draft nuclear deal proposed by the UN nuclear watchdog after three days of crunch talks in Vienna.

IAEA Director-General Mohamed El-Baradei said the draft agreement, which he says could dramatically reduce international concerns over Tehran's enrichment activities, has been sent to Iran, Russia, the United States and France after three days of negotiations.

"I have circulated a draft agreement that in my judgment reflects a balanced approach to how to move forward," said El-Baradei after the meeting broke up around 1 p.m. local time (1100 GMT) in Vienna.

"I very much hope that people see the big picture — that this agreement could pave the way for a complete normalization of relations between Iran and the international community," he added.

Details have not been confirmed, but the plan is believed to involve Iran trading its low-level uranium with higher level.

Iran has repeatedly maintained that it prefers to buy the fuel rather than exchanging it.

El-Baradei said the countries have until Thursday, October 23, to inform the UN nuclear body whether they accept the compromise.

His comments come as diplomats from Iran, France, Russia and the United States gathered in Vienna for talks on a deal to supply highly-enriched uranium for Tehran's research reactor.

Tehran's research reactor, which supplies medical isotopes for treating cancer to more than 200 hospitals in Iran, requires uranium enriched up to 20 percent.

Western countries have proposed that Iran export low-enriched uranium to Russia for further refinement, then on to France for fabrication into fuel assemblies.
But France, due to its past failure to fulfill obligations to provide Hexa-fluoride gas to Iran, was later removed from the list of potential suppliers.

Press TV's correspondent to Vienna said the French diplomats were nevertheless included in the talks after they formally apologized for their breach of agreement in the past.

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