New York, July 27 (ANI): Iran has announced that it is ready and willing to talk about a nuclear fuel swap, even as the European Union prepares to enforce harsh new set of sanctions on it.
According to the Daily News, Iran's envoy to the UN emphasized in a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency said, "Iran's complete readiness to hold negotiations over the fuel for the Tehran reactor without any conditions."
Tehran's unexpected shift came shortly after the EU approved increased restrictions on Iran, scheduled to go into effect over the next few weeks.
The EU's sanctions will go even further than what the United Nations agreed to last month, the paper reports.
One of the most devastating aspects of the new sanctions, which target Iran's trade, banking and energy sectors, will be the push to halt foreign aid to Iran's natural gas industry, a key element of the country's economy.
The UN endorsed its own fourth round of sanctions after failing to get Iran to accept a nuclear swap plan, which would exchange the country's low-enriched uranium for fuel rods of higher-enriched uranium to be used in a medical research reactor.
Although Iran negotiated a nuclear swap with Brazil and Turkey in May in which the Middle Eastern country agreed to send 2,646 pounds of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 20 per cent enriched uranium, the agreement was dismissed by other nations as insufficient.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner released a joint statement on Monday, praising the EU for adopting the stronger sanctions.
"The message to Iran's leaders is clear: Meet your responsibilities or face increasing isolation and consequences," they said. (ANI)