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. Russia expects Iran to agree to IAEA nuclear deal
MOSCOW, Nov 24 (AFP) Nov 24, 2009
Russia expects Iran to agree to enrich uranium abroad under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a Russian diplomatic spokesman said Tuesday.

"We are counting on a quick positive response from Tehran. Therefore the question of adopting special sanctions is not relevant," spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said.

Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, can veto any proposed sanctions against Iran.

Iranian foreign affairs ministry spokesman Ramin Mehamanparast said earlier on Tuesday that "Iran is not opposed to sending uranium abroad."

He added Tehran is ready to send off its 3.5 percent low-enriched uranium (LEU) but would want a simultaneous exchange on its soil with 20 percent pure uranium processed abroad.

Iran earlier this month rejected an IAEA-brokered proposal to send out 1,200 kilograms (more than 2,640 pounds) of enriched uranium. It would then have been further enriched by Russia and converted into fuel by France before being supplied to Tehran.

Iran and world powers have been at loggerheads for weeks, failing to reach a nuclear fuel deal aimed at allaying Western concerns over Tehran's nuclear programme.

The West, led by Washington, fears Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb, an ambition Iranian officials strongly deny.

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