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Iran Calls On West To Settle Nuclear Dispute, As EU Adopts New Sanctions

Iran's uranium-enrichment complex at Natanz in central Iran (file photo)

Iran's uranium-enrichment complex at Natanz in central Iran (file photo)

Iran has said that the European Union and the United States should settle their nuclear dispute with Iran through a proposed fuel-swap deal, rather than imposing more sanctions.

Ali-Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said on state television today that the Turkish-brokered fuel deal should be used as an opportunity to settle the nuclear issue.

The move comes as EU foreign ministers formally adopted a package of new sanctions against Iran, targeting the country's foreign-trade, banking, and energy sectors.

The move -- agreed to in principle by EU leaders in June -- is the latest in a series of measures taken by the international community in an effort to halt Iran's uranium-enrichment program.

The new measures will come into force in the next few weeks after they are published in the EU's official gazette.

The new restrictions are similar to measures adopted by the Obama administration, which has imposed penalties against additional individuals and institutions it says are helping Iran develop its nuclear and missile programs, and evade international sanctions.

The EU sanctions follow a fourth round of UN sanctions imposed last month to curtail Iran's nuclear program over fears it is developing weapons.

A deal reach in May between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil would bind Iran to send 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for higher-enriched uranium.

But world powers have rejected that fuel-swap deal as inadequate because Iran also insists on continuing to enrich its own uranium to high levels.

compiled from agency reports