GENEVA — Iran has more enriched uranium than it needs and plans to use that as a bargaining chip at nuclear talks in Geneva next week, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Wednesday.
In an Associated Press interview, Larijani said the surplus uranium would be discussed with Western powers in the context of possibly halting its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, which has been a key concession sought in the negotiations.
“Through the process of negotiations, yes, things can be said and they can discuss this matter,” he said, on the sidelines of a meeting of the world organization of parliaments.
The 20-percent-enriched uranium is much closer to warhead-grade material than the level needed for energy-producing nuclear reactors, but Larijani says it needs the higher enrichment solely for energy, research and isotopes for medical treatments, not for nuclear weapons.
He said Iran produced the enriched uranium itself because the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency would not provide it.
“But we have some surplus, you know, the amount that we don’t need. Over that we can have some discussions,” he said, referring to next week’s talks with Western powers, where Iran is to negotiate over its nuclear program with the P5+1, consisting of the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
In a press conference, Larjani said that the upcoming discussions “mostly concerns building confidence rather than a commercial give-and-take. The negotiations are indeed a window of opportunity, providing the parties are willing to use the window,” Reuters reported on Wednesday
In the upcoming talks, Iran reportedly plans to offer the West a plan to significantly reduce its production of nuclear fuel in exchange for an easing of sanctions that have seriously impacted the Iranian economy.