Diplomats: Iran Weighs Option on LEU Stocks

Diplomats: Iran Weighs Option on LEU Stocks  Diplomats: Iran Weighs Option on LEU Stocks

Nuclear negotiators for Iran, which would be obligated to reduce its stocks of low-enriched uranium under a prospective deal, are considering a plan for Iran to send the material to another country for sale as reactor fuel, diplomats told the AP on Saturday.

The export-and-sell option has been floated before, and the diplomats emphasized that the sides have not agreed on that solution in the search for what to do with the LEU stockpile.

But negotiators have little time left to make a decision on the issue with a Tuesday target date looming for a deal.

Senior Iranian officials had previously rejected shipping out the material in preliminary negotiations.

The goal of the talks involving the US, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia is a comprehensive deal that would restrict Tehran’s nuclear activities for specified durations in exchange for sanctions relief.

Other options discussed would mean converting the enriched uranium into other forms or shipping it abroad for storage, probably in Russia.

Iran says it nuclear work is totally peaceful, rejecting the claim that it may have been seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of a civilian program.  

One of the diplomats said Russia was a key candidate in the idea being floated that Moscow would convert the low-enriched material and Iran would get a large share of the profits from any sale.

Iran says it is enriching only to make reactor fuel and for other nonmilitary purposes.

Under the preliminary deal that led to the current negotiations, Iran has eliminated almost all uranium enriched to a purity level of 20 percent.

The two diplomats are familiar with the talks but spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the confidential talks.