Iran Hands Over Response to Uranium Deal

Iranian state media say the government has presented its response to a United Nations-brokered nuclear fuel deal.

The state-owned Al-Aram television station said an envoy delivered the response Thursday to the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which is based in Vienna.  

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country is “ready to cooperate” with Western powers, but details of the response to the IAEA were not immediately released.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said during a televised address in the northeastern city of Mashhad that Western nations have moved from “confrontation to cooperation.”  But he added that Iran will not give up its nuclear program.

The IAEA proposal was for Iran to send its uranium abroad for low-level enrichment for use in a research reactor.  The plan is aimed at preventing Iran from enriching uranium to the point that it can be used for nuclear weapons.

A team of U.N. nuclear inspectors returned earlier Thursday from a visit to a previously secret uranium enrichment site in Iran.  The head of the IAEA’s four-member mission, Herman Nackaerts, said in Vienna the team had what he called a “good trip.”

He said the team would now analyze the data collected at the site.  He would not elaborate, but the mission was expected to have taken soil samples to see if Iran had moved any radioactive material into the facility.

Iran revealed the existence of the site near the city of Qom on September 21.  The revelation triggered outrage from Western nations that suspect Iran is enriching uranium to make atomic weapons.  Iran says its uranium enrichment is for peaceful uses.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its enrichment activities.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.