Iranian negotiators have agreed to a draft of an accord which would allow most of its nuclear fuel to be enriched in Russia.
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, said Wednesday that the Iranian negotiators currently meeting in Vienna had accepted the draft agreement, but added that it would have to be approved by the Iranian and U.S. governments.
Under the agreement, the 2,600 pounds of nuclear fuel would be further enriched in Russia, and then sent back to Tehran for use in a reactor that refines nuclear fuel for medical purposes, according to the New York Times. The converted nuclear fuel would be difficult to use in a weapon.
Wednesday’s announcement by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency comes after the second day of negotiations in Vienna hosted by the IAEA was delayed as the delegations met for consultations.
The delay Tuesday came following a news conference by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in which he stated that “Iran will never abandon its legal and obvious right” to nuclear technology.
“The meetings with world powers and their behavior shows that Iran’s right to have peaceful nuclear technology has been accepted by them,” Mottaki said.
The meeting also was delayed after Iran announced Tuesday that France must be excluded from a final deal.
The United States, France and Russia began meeting Monday with Iranian diplomats to discuss a deal by which a third country, namely Russia, would convert about 2,600 pounds of Iran’s low-enriched uranium into fuel for a nuclear reactor to be used for medical purposes.
A tentative deal on the plan was announced at a meeting of Tehran officials and Western powers in Geneva at the beginning of the month.