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'Nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran is still alive'

world Updated: Apr 20, 2010 12:19 IST

The Obama Administration has said that the nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran is still alive after Tehran said that it would talk with the entire UN Security Council to break the impasse.

"We looked at the deal offered last September as being a confidence-building step. Iran has now taken seven months and has really not been willing to respond meaningfully to that offer," Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley told reporters at a daily news conference.

"I think we are still interested in taking that step, but at the heart of it, there was the proposal that Iran would ship out a significant amount of its stock of enriched fuel and there would be an exchange for a corresponding amount of fuel suitable to the Tehran research reactor," he said.

The State Department official said Iran has never agreed to that core element in the offer, which would be a step in restoring confidence by the international community in its nuclear intentions.

Crowley was referring to an October 2009 UN-drafted deal to supply nuclear fuel for a Tehran research reactor by shipping out Iran's low-enriched uranium in return for higher-grade nuclear fuel produced by Russia and France.

"I think we are still interested in pursuing that offer if Iran is interested. It would need to be updated, because over the course of the last seven months, Iran has had its centrifuges operating and one would presume has increased the amount of fuel that it has at its disposal," he said.

"We are certainly not interested in having an arrangement that actually can be used to facilitate Iran's noncompliance with its international obligations. So if Iran wants to pursue this, what it needs to do is actually indicate that formally to the IAEA. That is something that Iran has never done," Crowley said.