Iran has agreed to ship much of its enriched uranium to Turkey in a nuclear fuel swap deal reached with the help of mediation from Brazil and Turkey.
The agreement could revive a UN-backed proposal for easing the international stand-off over Iran's nuclear programme.
The official IRNA news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mahmanparast as saying that a fuel swap will take place in Turkey.
The deal was reached during talks between Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.
Iran has agreed to ship most of its enriched uranium to Turkey in a nuclear fuel swap deal that could ease the international stand-off over the country's disputed nuclear programme.
The deal was reached in talks with Brazil and Turkey, elevating a new group of mediators for the first time in the dispute over Iran's nuclear activities.
There was no immediate comment from the US and the other world powers which have led earlier negotiations as to whether the new deal would satisfy them and stave off a fourth round of UN sanctions.
It was agreed during the meeting of Iranian, Turkish and Brazilian leaders that Turkey will be the venue for swapping Iran's stocks of enriched uranium for nuclear fuel rods to power a medical research reactor, foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on state television today.
The deal would deprive Iran - at least temporarily - of the stocks of enriched uranium that it could process to the higher levels of enrichment needed in weapons production.
The material returned to Iran in the form of fuel rods could not be processed beyond its lower, safer levels, which are suitable for use in the Tehran research reactor.
The deal goes to the heart of international concern over Tehran's nuclear activities. Earlier negotiations led by Germany and the five permanent UN Security Council members - the US, Britain, France, Russia and China - have sought to stop Iran from enriching uranium, and thereby deprive it of a possible pathway to nuclear weapons.
The deal was announced after talks between Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.
The deal could revive a plan drafted by the UN and first proposed in October, though it's not clear exactly how close it is to the original proposal, which was ultimately rejected by Iran after some initial mixed signals.
Some of the details provided by Mr Mehmanparast, are the same.
For example, under the new plan Iran will ship 2,600lbs (1,200kg) of uranium enriched to low levels to Turkey to trade it for fuel rods containing uranium enriched to higher levels, he said.
That would happen one month after a final deal is signed between Iran and its main negotiating partners and the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It appears Iran had dropped an earlier demand for the fuel exchange to happen in stages, rather than providing its material in a single batch. It has also dropped an insistence for the exchange to happen inside Iran.
Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also the head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, called today's deal historic.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the deal meant "there is no longer any need for UN sanctions," Turkey's private NTV television quoted the minister as telling reporters in Iran.
Iranian leader flies into nuclear stormhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/iranian-leader-flies-into-nuclear-storm-1960871.html
Delegates from 189 countries today are opening a new bid at the United Nations to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, at a contentious meeting set to be dominated by Iran's presumed efforts to build a bomb, and fierce argument over the undeclared nuclear arsenal of Israel.
The month-long review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), generally considered the most important international arms-control agreement, takes place every five years. But it has produced few breakthroughs since it came into force in 1970: indeed the last one in 2005 failed to even come up with an agreed final statement.
This time the omens are little brighter, while the deepening crisis over Iran's uranium-enrichment programme means the stakes are especially high, and magnified further by the presence of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian President, the only head of state attending, is due to address the gathering at its opening session today, ahead of Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State.
Yesterday senior US officials were playing down the chances of a deal. Washington's goal is rather to build the broadest possible coalition against Iran, to strengthen its hand in securing tough sanctions against Tehran.
Unlike Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, the recent additions to the nuclear club, Iran is a signatory of the NPT – a treaty that amounts to a grand bargain committing adherents not to seek nuclear weapons, in return for a pledge from the five traditional nuclear powers to move to eliminate their own arsenals.
Tehran continues to insist that its programme is purely peaceful in intent, despite growing evidence to the contrary. Yesterday Ms Clinton again accused Iran of being in breach of its obligations, and described Mr Ahmadinejad's trip to New York as a stunt aimed at confusing the issue and diverting global attention from his country's treaty violation.
As a signatory, Iran can – and certainly will – block any agreed statement not to its liking that would seek to tighten non-proliferation rules and authorise more intrusive inspections by the IAEA, the UN's atomic watchdog agency. Success for Washington will be measured by its ability to limit Iran's support to its few habitual allies of Cuba, Syria, and Venezuela and on occasion Libya, and to win agreement to punish countries that pull out of the NPT, as North Korea did in 2003.
In contrast to the last review – held at a time when President George W Bush did not hide his disdain for multilateral negotiations – the Obama administration comes into the conference with relatively shining credentials.
It has just signed an arms-reduction deal with Russia that slashes by a third the deployed strategic arsenals of the two countries, which hold over 90 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons. Mr Obama himself has set out a vision of a nuclear-free world, and last month hosted the biggest international conference on US soil since 1945, aimed at keeping nuclear materials out of terrorist hands.
But the US will come under renewed pressure finally to ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Mr Obama has called for Senate ratification, but faces opposition likely to be strengthened by Republican gains at November's mid-term elections here.
The other big complication, though is Israel. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly pulled out of the nuclear security summit in Washington for fear the occasion would be turned into a debating forum on his country's arsenal, but the issue will surface again at the NPT conference.
Frustrated in Washington, Egypt is set to repeat its demand for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East – a proposal that would both force the Israelis to give up their stockpile, and oblige Iran to abandon its quest for a nuclear weapon.
US response to this action (angry over how come they didn't get piece of Iranian resoursces):http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/us-persuades-security-council-to-impose-new-iran-sanctions-1976389.html
US persuades Security Council to impose new Iran sanctionsMrs Clinton made the announcement in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is pushing for unilateral US sanctions on Iran that might prove more damaging to its economy than anything the UN Security Council will pass. The new US law, which might pass Congress before the end of this month, would build on existing American sanctions and aims to strangle supplies to Iran of refined petroleum products, including petrol for road traffic. Iran is one of the world's biggest oil producers, but lacks enough refining capacity so relies heavily on imports of gasoline.
Three decades of sanctions
After 30 years of relative international isolation, Iran feels as if it is in a political time warp. Economically, there are few visible effects. Tourists can't use their international credit cards and nervous fliers would be advised to avoid internal flights because the national carrier, Iranair, has for years had difficulty sourcing official spare parts from American manufacturers for its ageing civil fleet.
On balance, though, sanctions have been patchily applied and oil revenues have cushioned the quality of life for most inhabitants of the Islamic Republic. Economic problems are more a function of domestic mismanagement than trade restrictions, say analysts. The Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite parallel army, has meantime developed an empire of trading interests, plus lucrative engineering and construction businesses, and operates front companies and banks throughout the Middle East and Central Asia to blunt the impact of any measures.
* The seizure of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 prompted the first unilateral American sanctions against Iran. Diplomatic links have remained severed since, and most trade halted – although gifts, foodstuffs and carpets are exempted. In 1995, US companies were banned from investing in Iran's oil and gas sector, and foreign firms investing more than $20m (£14m) in Iran's energy sector in any given year were made subject to US penalties. Three leading Iranian banks were placed under US sanctions in 2001.
* Three separate rounds of UN sanctions over the country's failure to halt uranium enrichment have operated since 2006. The first banned the sale of materials for the nuclear programme and froze the foreign assets of individuals linked to it. The second extended the asset freeze to firms run by the Revolutionary Guard. Then in 2008 the UN increased the travel and financial squeeze on named individuals associated with the nuclear programme and banned the sale to Iran of items with joint civilian/military application.
* Separate EU sanctions now also apply to senior Iranian figures, including the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Ali Jafari, and experts in the nuclear industry are barred from obtaining visas for travel to any of the 27 member states. Iranian assets frozen in Britain under UN and EU rules total just under £1bn.
So, the US quest of nuclear- free world which does not include US itself and Israel continues....
Also check out this comment very interesting....
This is rather perplexing, from what I can gather after wandering onto the IAEA and other agencies, Iran has failed to enrich further than a very low level, that which is for nuclear power generation, that Iran too has allowed inspection, permanent surveillance and scrutiny within its facilities, has adhered to preparatory rules in regards to commissioning of new facilities. Every microgram of Iran's fissile material, whether enriched or not is accounted for, the IAEA know where exactly every ounce of Iran's stockpile is.
America's own intelligence community state with clarity that Iran isn't pursuing a nuclear weaponisation programme, something that is concurred with by the Russian's FSB, France and British intelligence agencies as well, why is it that the people that should know, the experts say there is no danger of Iran gaining the bomb but the politicians are screaming from the podium the very opposite?
Bearing in mind too that the US does not allow even a fraction of what Iran is required to do in its own facilities in regards to inspection or accountancy and with the successor to Trident and the new Bush era bunker busters is vastly in violation it seems of the treaty. Britain too, signing up to replace Trident is also equally in violation.
So, just what is Iran actually in violation of?
I have wondered too if America isn't so vocal simply because it has been cut out of the loop, expecting a slice of the "pie" and watching in impotent fury as Russia and other countries are paid a fortune in developing Iran's nuclear power generation, America's own nuclear specialists in conjunction with our own BNFL are considerably thought of as the "only game in town" and thats a lot of Mad Mullah's Moolah going into Russia's treasury.