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Iran wants review of nuclear plan

November 02, 2009|Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — Iran said today that it has not rejected a U.N.-backed plan aimed at limiting the country's ability to make nuclear weapons, and it called for a technical panel to review the plan.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that Iran conveyed its stand to the International Atomic Energy Agency two days ago. Mottaki is in Malaysia to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of eight Islamic countries.

His statement could be seen as a softening of Iran's stand after senior lawmakers rejected the plan Saturday. Earlier last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said his government will persist with its nuclear program despite international concerns.

Asked whether this meant Tehran had rejected the deal, Mottaki said, "No."

The United Nations-brokered plan would require Iran to send about 2,600 pounds -- or 70% of its low-grade uranium stockpile -- to Russia in one batch by year's end for processing. France would convert the uranium into fuel rods for Iran for use in a reactor that produces medical isotopes.

"We have some technical and economic considerations on that. Two days ago, we passed our views and observations to the IAEA, so it is very much possible to establish a technical commission in order to review and reconsider all these issues," Mottaki said.

If Iran accepts the U.N.-backed plan, it would not be able to replenish its stockpile to levels that could yield enough uranium for further enrichment into weapons-grade material for about a year.

Since its enrichment program was revealed in 2002, Iran has amassed more than 3,300 pounds of low-grade uranium.

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