TEHRAN — Iran will suspend uranium enrichment to 20 percent if it acquires nuclear fuel for a research reactor, the country's atomic chief said on an Iranian television channel on Thursday.
"We will not need to enrich to 20 percent if our needs are met" for fuel to power the Tehran reactor, Ali Akbar Salehi said, quoted by Al-Alam Arabic-language channel.
"We started enriching to 20 percent to meet our needs. We have no wish to draw on our reserves" of 3.5-percent enriched uranium (low-enriched uranium, or LEU) to produce 20-percent enriched uranium, he added.
In February, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran has already produced highly enriched nuclear material in defiance of the West to power the reactor amid deadlock over a stalled nuclear swap deal.
The UN Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against the Islamic republic, demanding it stop enriching uranium in a programme which Western powers fear conceals efforts to make a nuclear weapon.
Tehran insists that its atomic programme is peaceful.
In May, Turkey and Brazil brokered a deal under which Iran agreed to send 1,200 kilograms of LEU to Turkey, in return for high-enriched uranium to be supplied later by Russia and France for the Tehran reactor.
However, the fuel swap deal was cold-shouldered by world powers, which backed a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran in June.
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