New UN sanctions loom for Iran despite deal

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New UN sanctions loom for Iran despite deal

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Iran remains under threat of new sanctions, despite signing an agreement aimed at allaying international concerns over its atomic ambitions.

Tehran will send some of its low-enriched uranium abroad in a deal with Brazil and Turkey. In return, it says it will receive higher-enriched nuclear fuel for a research reactor.

But the EU’s stance has not changed towards Iran, which has backed out of a similar deal in the past.

“The main concern is not the refuelling of the Tehran research reactor but the Iranian nuclear programme itself,” said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, speaking in Madrid.

“The International Atomic Energy Agency has made reasonable proposals on the refuelling of the reactor but Iran has failed to respond positively. We have heard but not seen the new proposals.”

The talk is even tougher in Israel where the government reacted with more veiled threats against the Islamic Republic.

Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said: “Iran is equipping itself and is intent on getting (nuclear) weapons. It is taking steps that are far from being for the sake of self-defence, as the president of Brazil is saying. We are watching this and making decisions accordingly.”

The uranium would be exchanged in Turkey whose mediation, with Brazil, comes as the UN readies tougher sanctions. Tehran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.