The twists and turns of Iran nuclear fuel deal

Filed on February 3, 2010

TEHRAN - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran has “no problem” in shipping out its uranium stocks abroad, setting off a fresh twist in the controversial nuclear fuel deal.

Here are key twists and turns in Iran’s position since the deal was first discussed on October 19 after talks between the United States, Russia, France and Iran.

October 21

· Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, calls the proposal, which is also backed by most world powers, “very positive.”

October 24

· Parliament speaker Ali Larijani calls the deal an attempt to “cheat” Iran.

October 26

· Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says Iran is mulling the deal and “may deliver a part of our (low-enriched uranium, or LEU) fuel that we don’t need.”

October 29

· Ahmadinejad says conditions are ripe for a deal because Western policy has gone from “confrontation to cooperation.”

November 2

· Iran calls for a review of the deal.

November 18

· Mottaki says Iran will not send its LEU abroad, and says Tehran was ready to “consider swapping the fuel simultaneously in Iran.”

November 24

· Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says Tehran is ready to send its LEU abroad provided there is simultaneous exchange on its own soil of nuclear fuel processed by world powers.

November 29: UN nuclear watchdog censures Tehran for secretly building second uranium enrichment plant.

November 30

· Ahmadinejad declares Iran will enrich uranium to 20 percent and also build 10 new uranium enrichment plants.

December 2 - Ahmadinejad reiterates in the central city of Isfahan that the “Iranian nation will by itself make the 20 percent (nuclear) fuel (enriched uranium) and whatever it needs.”

December 6 - Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran will not be isolated by Western powers.

December 8 - Mehmanparast says Iran “ready” to do nuclear fuel deal if Western powers can provide conditions that can gain our trust.”

December 12 - Mottaki proposes Tehran swap 400 kilos of LEU for nuclear fuel in an exchange on the Gulf island of Kish as the first phase of a deal with world powers.

December 14 - Mottaki says Iran does not insist on exchanging its low-enriched uranium for fuel for a research nuclear reactor on its own territory after the United States bluntly dismissed the offer.

December 18 - Ahmadinejad says Iran is ready to strike a deal if the United States and the West respect the Islamic republic and stop making threats.

“Everything is possible, 400 kilos, 800 kilos, it’s nothing,” for enrichment abroad, he said in an interview with AFP in Copenhagen.

“But not in a climate where they threaten us. They have to change their vocabulary, in respect and legality.

December 19 - Mottaki says Iran is ready to examine proposals from other parties for procuring nuclear fuel.

December 21 - Mottaki says Iran will produce itself the fuel required for the research reactor.

December 22 - Ahmadinejad rejects a year-end deadline set by the United States to accept the UN-brokered deal.

“They say we have given Iran until the end of the Christian year. Who are they anyway? It is we who have given them an opportunity,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the city of Shiraz carried live on state television.

“If they don’t change their attitude and language we will demand Iranians’ historic rights from them.

December 29: Mehmanparast says Iran is ready to swap abroad its LEU for nuclear fuel in several stages as a move that could “build confidence” between the West and Iran.

January 2 - Mottaki gives the West a one-month “ultimatum” to accept a uranium swap, warning it will produce its own nuclear fuel for a Tehran reactor if there is no deal.

January 20: Mehmanparast says Iran ready for gradual swapping of uranium.

January 24 - Ahmadinejad hints Iran was determined to enrich uranium to 20 percent level if Western powers fail to accept Tehran’s counter-proposal concerning a UN-brokered nuclear fuel deal.

“Iran has given a chance to Western countries,” Ahmadinejad is quoted as saying by Fars news agency when asked by reporters about Iran’s deadline to world powers over the nuclear fuel deal and when Tehran will produce 20 percent enriched uranium.

“Therefore, during the 10 days of dawn (February 1 to 11) we will announce good news regarding the production of 20 percent enriched fuel in our country,” he said referring to the period marking the 1979 Islamic revolution.

January 26 - Khamenei says Iran will not succumb to “blackmail” by world powers, just days ahead of a deadline given by Tehran over a nuclear fuel deal.

“We will not be blackmailed. Our people are standing firm for their rights and will not back down,” he says.

January 30 - Mottaki says “new ideas” on the supply of nuclear fuel to Iran were raised in talks with French and Brazilian officials in Davos, adding Tehran’s own ideas on the exchange of its LEU for higher-enriched fuel remain on the table.

February 2: Ahmadinejad says he sees “no problem” in delivering Iran’s LEU to Western powers.

“There is really no problem. Some made a fuss for nothing. There is no problem. We sign a contract. We give them 3.5 percent (enriched uranium) and it will take four or five months for them to give us the 20 percent (enriched uranium),” Ahmadinejad said on state television.

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