World Bulletin/News Desk
Iran would negotiate on halting higher-grade uranium enrichment if given fuel for a research reactor, senior officials said, reviving a previous offer in a possible attempt to show flexibility in stalled nuclear talks with world powers.
The talks have made scant progress since resuming in April, leading to harsher Western sanctions against Iran and increasing talk of Israeli air strikes.
The Islamic Republic's economy is suffering from the tightened noose of sanctions, with the rial currency losing nearly two-thirds of its value to the dollar over the past year.
"If a guarantee is provided to supply the 20 percent (enriched) fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, our officials are ready to enter talks about 20 percent enrichment," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at a Eurasian media forum in Kazakhstan on Friday, according to Iran's Press TV.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel e arlier in the week: "If our right to enrichment is recognised, we are prepared to offer an exchange. We would voluntarily limit the extent of our enrichment program, but in return we would need a guaranteed supply of the relevant fuels from abroad."
Mehmanparast, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, spoke on the same day the European Union provisionally approved yet wider economic sanctions complementing U.S. plans for further financial penalties.
Mehmanparast said any flexibility shown by Iran should be matched by reciprocal measures from world powers, including full recognition of Iran's right to enrich uranium, according to Saturday's Press TV report.
At the heart of Iran's dispute with world powers is its insistence on the right to enrich uranium and that economic sanctions should be lifted before it stops activities that could lead to its achieving the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
The United States and European allies reject such conditions. They say Iran forfeited a right to enrich by having concealed sensitive nuclear work from U.N. inspectors and blocking their inquiry into suspected research.
World powers want Iran to stop 20 percent enrichment, shut down the Fordow underground centrifuge plant where this work is carried out and ship out its stockpile of this material.
Iran says it needs uranium enriched to a fissile purity of 20 percent for a medical research reactor in Tehran.
According to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog report, issued in August, Iran has a stockpile of 20 percent uranium of just over 90 kilograms (200 pounds).
Missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner tracked by radar over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast, a military source told Reuters.
The instability is unnerving consumers, with confidence at a 12-year low, and automakers, property firms and hotels in Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy are feeling the pinch
Journalist was shot by unknown gunmen central Kabul on Tuesday morning and died of his wounds in hospital
Islamic Jihad said targeted members of the group in Rafah, a town bordering Egypt.
Since December, around 60,000 families have fled their homes in the violence-wracked Anbar province to neighboring areas, according to government figures
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said 18 children under the age of five had died in January and another 23 in February.
A Kurdistan regional administration official says that a recent Saudi ban would convince 200 Kurds currently fighting alongside the Syrian opposition to return home.
Sanader, sentenced to 10 years' jail in another corruption trial in 2012, was given a new nine-year sentence by the Zagreb county court
Earlier Tuesday, Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported that the drone had gone down due to a "technical error."
Taliban spokesperson issues a statement warning Afghan people not to participate in April's presidential polls.
Foreign ministry "urged China to desist from any further interference with the efforts of the Philippines to undertake rotation and resupply operations at the Ayungin Shoal."
Although the disappearence of the passenger plane has not ruled out the possibility of terrorism, it is not believed that two Iranian men who had boarded the flight w,th stolen passports were hijackers.
Yanukovich remained unswayed in his argument that "extremists" had taken power in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. He told journalists that a presidential election set for May 25 would be illegal.
The academics found that UKIP's rise in opinion polls since the 2010 election had come not from widening its reach across society but deepening their core, working class vote.
The move came as several Jewish extremist groups urged followers to storm the holy site, he said.
Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries scoured the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted