Page last updated at 05:09 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009

Iran seeks review of nuclear deal

Manouchehr Mottaki in Kuala Lumpur (2 November 2009)
Mr Mottaki said Iran would "continue enrichment" for its nuclear needs

Iran has said it wants the UN's nuclear watchdog to establish a committee to review a deal aimed at easing Western fears over its nuclear programme.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the country had passed a request to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) two days ago.

Mr Mottaki said Tehran had "some technical and economic considerations".

Under the plan, most of Iran's enriched uranium would be sent abroad to be turned into fuel rods for research use.

This is seen as a way for Iran to get the fuel it needs, while giving guarantees to the West that it will not be used for nuclear weapons.

'Technical commission'

Speaking to reporters at a meeting of foreign ministers from eight Islamic countries in Malaysia, Mr Mottaki said Iran had considered the proposals it had agreed with the IAEA and the US, France and Russia.

A satellite image of what analysts believe is the facility at Qom
Mined uranium ore is purified and reconstituted into solid form known as yellowcake
Yellowcake is converted into a gas by heating it to about 64C (147F)
Gas is fed through centrifuges, where its isotopes separate and the process is repeated until uranium is enriched
Low-level enriched uranium is used for nuclear fuel
Highly enriched uranium can be used in nuclear weapons

"We have some technical and economic considerations on that," he said.

"Two days ago, we passed our views and observations to the IAEA, so it is very much possible to establish a technical commission in order to review and reconsider all these issues."

The UN-brokered plan would require Iran to send about 1,200kg (2,600lb), or 70%, of its low-enriched uranium to Russia by the year's end for processing.

Subsequently, France would convert the uranium into fuel rods for use in a reactor in Tehran that produces medical isotopes.

In the meantime, Mr Mottaki said, Iran would "continue enrichment" for its nuclear needs.

Observers in Tehran say the government may not want to ship most of its enriched uranium in one go - a condition the Western powers may not accept.

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