Haaretz: In a new twist on the international community’s effort to reign in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, Japan has offered to enrich uranium on Iran’s behalf, the AFP news agency reported on Wednesday.
Iran has not yet responded officially but its parliament speaker Ali Larijani is expected to discuss the offer in a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in Tokyo on Wednesday, the agency said, quoting the Japanese-language Nikkei business daily.
A previous deal offered by Russia and France to enrich and process Iranian nuclear fuel failed to materialize after Iran refused to send the greater part of its stock of low-enriched uranium – some 400 kilograms – abroad in a single consignment.
Japan’s offer was first mooted in December following approval from the United States, during a visit to Tokyo by Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, the Japanese paper said.
Iran is suspected by world powers of building a nuclear bomb but insists its enrichment program is for civilian use.
On Tuesday the U.S. warned Iran that “patience is running out” over its nuclear program, adding that Tehran has shown no interest in addressing the West’s fears over its controversial uranium enrichment.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs repeated U.S. warnings of “consequences” if Iran continues to enrich uranium.
“It is clear that the continuing announcements and pronouncements that are made in Iran demonstrate that they have no interest in building international confidence that their nuclear program is for peaceful means,” Gibbs added.