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Iran - Spokesman: N. Fuel Swap Possible Only Inside Iranian Territory

Iran still persists in swapping nuclear fuel for its Tehran research reactor, but it would go for such a deal if only it takes place on its soil, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed on Saturday.

"We continue to believe that the place of the swap should be on Iranian soil," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast told FNA.

Meantime, the spokesman pointed out that Tehran and fuel suppliers have reached some agreements on the amount and the time of the fuel swap.

Referring to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki's remarks on the beginning of a new round of talks between Iran and the EU on the fuel swap, he reiterated that Iranian officials have held some negotiations with different countries, including the EU and the permanent UN Security Council members, to explain Tehran's conditions for the fuel swap.

Iran has offered a simultaneous fuel exchange within its territory and declared that it is ready to give 3.5% enriched uranium and receive 20% enriched fuel in exchange. The country has announced that it will agree with a nuclear fuel swap with the West provided that the exchange takes place inside its territory.

Elsewhere, Mehman-Parast pointed to Mottaki's Friday visit to Turkey, and said that the Iranian top diplomat had briefed the Turkish officials about Iran's latest positions on both its nuclear issue and the nuclear fuel swap.

Mottaki, who was on a five-day trip to New York to attend the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference, briefly stopped in Turkey before returning to Tehran on Friday.

Turkish media sources confirmed the reports, adding that Mottaki touched base with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss recent developments in the proposed deal for a nuclear fuel swap with the West.

Turkey has emerged as a key advocate of a diplomatic solution to the international deadlock over Iran's nuclear activities.

In a recent visit to Tehran, Davutoglu had reiterated that "diplomacy is needed to solve the problem (since) military means, attacks, sanctions or embargoes will not be fruitful" and worsen the situation.

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