Iran rejects uranium deal

TEHRAN - Iran yesterday again rejected a deadline for the end of this year set by the world powers on a uranium enrichment deal.

TEHRAN - Iran yesterday again rejected a deadline for the end of this year set by the world powers on a uranium enrichment deal.

"Actually we have a deadline and our deadline is that if no proper response is received (from the world powers) on the deal, we will go on with further uranium enrichment for our Tehran medical reactor," foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said.

The United States and the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia - as well as Germany have threatened Iran with new punitive measures if it did not accept a compromise deal by the end of this year.

According to a plan brokered in October by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran's low enriched uranium was to be exported to Russia and France for further enrichment of up to 20percent and processing into fuel for the Tehran reactor.

"We can no longer wait and if they do not agree with the purchase or exchange, we will do the 20-percent enrichment process by ourselves," Mottaki said.

Uranium, enriched to a higher degree of up to 90percent, can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The West fears Iran is pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme under the guise of its civilian activities.

Mottaki reiterated that Tehran would be ready to either buy the processed uranium, produce it itself or exchange it in several phases on Iranian soil as a guarantee that the deal was valid.

The world powers and the IAEA have rejected the swap being made in Iran.

Mottaki said last week that Iran was not in the least concerned about sanction threats - Sapa-dpa

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