Iran ready to consider Russian uranium plan

 
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TEHRAN, Nov 11 (Reuters) Iran is ready to consider a proposal to enrich uranium in Russia to lessen suspicions over its nuclear programme but would not stop similar work inside Iran, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said today.

The United Nations Security Council is trying to reach agreement on sanctions against Iran after it failed to halt uranium enrichment as demanded in a July council resolution.

Western nations accuse Iran of trying secretly to build an atomic arsenal, but Iran says it has the right to enrich uranium and only wants to generate electricity.

Russia had proposed building a joint nuclear enrichment facility on its soil to enrich Iran's uranium to the level used in power stations, which is lower than is needed to make bombs.

''Iran seeks to preserve its rights to nuclear technology on its soil, but that does not contradict joint work with others in other areas,'' Mottaki told a news conference.

Russia, one of Iran's main trading partners, wants parts of a European draft sanctions text deleted, while the United States wants stronger language inserted. Negotiations are likely to continue for some time.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday that Iran's enemies could not do a ''damn thing'' to stop Iran's nuclear activities.

Iran ended snap inspections of its nuclear facilities in February after its case was referred to the UN Security Council and has threatened to curtail all inspections by the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, if sanctions are imposed.

REUTERS MQA PM1921

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