News Brief – February 3, 2010
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran is ready to comply with the United Nations and send its uranium abroad for enrichment.
However, the Iranian leader's announcement on state television Tuesday was greeted with some skepticism by Western diplomats.
While in the U.S., where concern is mounting over Iran’s expanding missile capability, officials are reported to have reacted “warily”
A White House spokesman told the BBC: “If Iran has something new to say, we are prepared to listen”.
If Iran does indeed export most of its uranium for enrichment, it would eliminate most of the stockpile needed to make a nuclear weapon. Crucially, it would also remove any grounds for striking Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Earlier Ahmadinejad proposed a prisoner exchange with Iran swapping three U.S. citizens held on suspicion of spying with Iranian citizens that Tehran claims are being held by the U.S.
Tehran claims that among those Iranians being "illegally" detained in the United States is nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri who went missing in Saudi Arabia while on pilgrimage to Mecca in June 2009.
In December, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said Tehran had information that authorities in Riyadh had delivered Amiri to the United States.
Another Iranian national, Amir-Hossein Ardebili, was reputedly abducted in Georgia in October 2007 and handed over to the US government in January 2008.
According to US prosecutors, Ardebili was to face trial for seeking to acquire military equipment, such as aircraft parts and night vision devices, for Iran.
Last updated 04/02/2010