Facing increasing momentum behind a US-backed bid for new sanctions against it, Iran is launching a broad diplomatic offensive aimed at persuading as many UN Security Council members as possible to oppose tougher punishment for its nuclear program.
Iran wants to focus on reviving stalled talks about a nuclear fuel swap to build trust on all sides, according to politicians and diplomats in Tehran.
But leaders of Western nations say that unless Iran alters its conditions for the deal, they will refuse to discuss it again. Under the arrangement, aimed at breaking an impasse over Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts, Tehran would exchange the bulk of its low-enriched uranium for more highly enriched fuel for a research reactor that produces medical isotopes.
As Iranian diplomats fly around the world to discuss the swap, they are lobbying some of the Security Council’s rotating members to vote against a fourth round of sanctions proposed by the US, officials said.
“In the coming 10 days, the Islamic republic’s delegations will travel to the capitals of Russia, China, Lebanon and Uganda to pursue talks,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said. “Other countries will be visited in the near future.” He said that “nuclear issues” will be on the agenda.
Iran also plans to try to rally support during an international conference to review the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
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