Reuters: The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil are to meet in Istanbul on Sunday to discuss the nuclear swap deal which they agreed in May, a Turkish foreign ministry official told Reuters on Saturday.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil are to meet in Istanbul on Sunday to discuss the nuclear swap deal which they agreed in May, a Turkish foreign ministry official told Reuters on Saturday.
Under the deal reached in Tehran, Iran agreed to send some of its uranium abroad, reviving a plan drafted by the United Nations with the aim of keeping its nuclear work in check.
The accord failed to prevent fresh sanctions from the United Nations, European Union and United States. But Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said this month he still saw a chance of Iran doing the swap on the basis of their agreement.
Davutoglu will first meet and hold a joint news conference with his Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim at 11 am (0800 GMT) on Sunday, the foreign ministry official said.
They will then hold a three-way meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. It was not clear if they would then hold another news conference.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the official IRNA news agency that the three foreign ministers had already talked by phone on Friday.
“Following a telephone conversation on Friday night between the Foreign Ministers of Iran, Turkey and Brazil, they will hold a meeting in Istanbul on Sunday to discuss latest developments related to the Tehran nuclear swap declaration,” he said.
The West fears Iran is working to develop a nuclear weapon. Tehran denies the charge, saying its nuclear programme is peaceful.
Under the May deal, Iran agreed to transfer 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Turkey within a month and in return receive, within a year, 120 kg of 20 percent-enriched uranium for use in a medical research reactor.
Western diplomats said removing from Iran 1,200 kg of LEU — enough, if highly enriched, to make a nuclear weapon — was less significant than when it was first proposed because Iran’s LEU stockpile had almost doubled in the interim.
The U.N. Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran on June 9. Brazil and Turkey voted against, angry at the West’s dismissal of their deal which they said made new sanctions unnecessary.
Iran has said it is prepared to return to long-frozen talks with world powers on certain conditions, and not before the end of August.
Iran also said on Saturday it was planning to build an experimental nuclear fusion reactor, state television reported.
In 2006, Iran said it was pressing ahead with research tests on nuclear fusion, a type of atomic reaction which has yet to be developed for commercial power generation, but this was the first mention in years that the work was continuing.
“We need two years to complete the studies on constructing and then another 10 years to design and build the reactor,” Asqar Sediqzadeh, head of Iran’s Nuclear Fusion Research Center, told Iran’s English-language Press TV.
(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Parisa Hafezi, writing by Daren Butler; editing by Myra MacDonald)