Iran rejects UN uranium exchange offer

A top Iranian official announced on Wednesday that his nation had rejected a UN plan to send enriched uranium out of the country and get it back as fuel rods.

Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Foreign Minister Manochehr Mottaki as saying that the enriched uranium was “definitely” not leaving Iran. Instead, the minister suggested that the nuclear material is simultaneously swapped within Iran’s borders.

The original uranium exchange plan was offered by the UN last month in an attempt to resolve the lingering crisis over Iranian nuclear program. Part of international community, led by the US, claims that Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities could be used to produce weapons. Iran, however, has repeatedly claimed that the enrichment is for purely peaceful purposes.

On Tuesday, the British press reported secret talks between Iran and the UN nuclear agency that could, supposedly, end in the lifting of international sanctions on the Islamic republic in exchange for closer cooperation with nuclear watchdogs.