Turkey, Iran Fuel Swap On Despite Sanctions

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ISTANBUL - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said negotiations for a fuel swap with Iran is still on the table despite the fourth round of sanctions recently passed by the U.N. Security Council.

Weeks before the vote, Iran offered to swap about 2,500 pounds of its low-enriched uranium with Turkey and Brazil in exchange for fuel rods containing uranium enriched to 20 percent to fuel its medical research reactor. 

The swap was intended as a confidence-building measure - especially to the West - to stave off more sanctions by showing Iran's willingness to cooperate.

"The Tehran declaration is the beginning of a new era," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, which "presented a new model for global relations based on negotiations, logic and justice," he said.

But the U.S., Europe and Russia were leary of Iran's declaration, especially after Iran backtracked on a similar declaration last October.

Additionally, Iran would have enough enriched uranium remaining after the swap to produce a nuclear weapon.

While Iran claims its nuclear program is intended for energy production and medical research, many western nations suspect it intends to produce bomb-grade nuclear fuel.

The five permanent members of the Security Council - China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States - voted in favor of the latest round of sanctions. Turkey and Brazil voted against the U.N. resolution, and Lebanon abstained.

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