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Iran may curb nuclear enrichment

world Updated: Apr 10, 2012 01:33 IST

Iran’s nuclear chief is hinting at a compromise offer from Tehran ahead of negotiations with world powers this week over the country’s controversial atomic program.

At the core of the dispute is the issue of uranium enrichment. The West fears Tehran is seeking an atomic weapon, which the country denies. Uranium has to be enriched to more than 90 per cent to be used for a nuclear weapon.

Iran’s nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi says Tehran could stop its production of 20 per cent enriched uranium needed for a research reactor, and continue enriching uranium to lower levels for power generation.

Abassi told state TV late Sunday that this could take place once Iran has stock piled enough of the 20 per cent enriched uranium.

The negotiations are to take place in Istanbul on Friday.

When talks between Iran and world powers collapsed last year, Tehran quickly blamed the West for trying to trample its “nuclear rights.” The Iranian line appears little changed “signaling that critical negotiations could begin this week where the impasse left off.”

Iranian officials also display a hint of confidence going into Friday’s talks. They believe Tehran may have beaten back the toughest Western demands for a complete halt to uranium enrichment “the key issue of the standoff “ and some bargaining room could open for new proposals.

“They have not gained anything through confrontation with Iran,” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament’s influential committee on national security and foreign policy.

His message on Saturday reflected the challenges of finding a new tone for dialogue with much on the line, including Israel’s threats of possible military action, allegations of covert attacks that have killed Iranian scientists and targeted Israeli officials, and Western sanctions that have taken aim at Iran’s key oil exports and helped drive inflation past 21 percent.

Iranian envoys in Istanbul will face a cross-section of its foes and allies: the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany.

Nuclear controversy