President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said a possible Iran nuclear fuel swap is a one-time opportunity that could be squandered if the UN approves a fourth round of Iran sanctions this week.
On the eve of an expected United Nations Security Council vote for new sanctions against Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned world powers against jeopardizing a one-time “opportunity” to engage Iran on its nuclear program.
“The US government and its allies are mistaken if they think they can brandish the stick of [a] resolution and then sit down to talk with us – such a thing will not happen,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said during a regional security summit taking place in Istanbul this week.
Still on the table, but with a muted response from the West so far, is a nuclear fuel swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in Tehran on May 17. In the deal, Iran would send about half its homemade low-enriched uranium to Turkey, and receive higher-enriched reactor fuel from a third party, which has not yet been named.
The deal, which does not require Iran to comply with UN resolutions against further enrichment, is meant as a confidence-building step toward resolving questions about whether Iran's nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes.
“The meeting in Tehran created an opportunity for the US administration and for its allies … and we still hope that they will be able to use this opportunity,” the Iranian president said. “[T]hat opportunity will not be repeated.”
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