Sunday, April 8, 2012

Israel accepts focus on curbing Iran's purer atom fuel

(Reuters) - Israel has signaled it would accept, as a first priority, world powers focusing on persuading Iran to stop higher-level uranium enrichment when they resume stalled nuclear negotiations this week with Tehran.

Israel, which has threatened last-resort attacks on its arch-foe's nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails, demanded last month that any negotiated resolution should end all uranium enrichment, high and low level, and remove all fuel already stockpiled by Iran.

But Western diplomats have said the six powers - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - that are due to open new talks with Iran on Friday would first tackle its uranium refinement to a fissile concentration of 20 percent rather than its more abundant 3.5 percent-pure fuel. The two sides have not yet agreed where the talks will take place.

The 20 percent enriched uranium would be far easier to enrich to bomb-grade 90 percent purity, though Iran denies having such designs, saying it is only seeking electrical energy and medical isotopes.

"We told our American friends, as well as the Europeans, that we would have expected the threshold for successful negotiations to be clear, ...Read More