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Iran Blasts Nuke Plan; Israel Urges 'Crippling Sanctions'

Iran has rejected a plan brokered by the IAEA to swap low-grade uranium for fuel. The country is opting to proceed with nuclear development.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 1/19/2010, 9:20 PM / Last Update: 1/19/2010, 10:05 PM

EPA

Iran has rejected a plan brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to swap low-grade uranium for fuel. The Islamic theocracy is opting to proceed with nuclear development.

In a first-time joint meeting in Berlin Monday between the cabinets of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leaders discussed the repercussions for Iran. Netanyahu called for "crippling sanctions" to be enacted against Ahmadinejad and his country. Merkel said that if Iran "does not change", her country would back "wide-ranging sanctions" against it. 

She also pressed Israel to stop Jewish growth in Judea and Samaria.

The IAEA draft proposal would seize 70% of Iran's low-enriched uranium -- material which has the potential to be enriched to weapons grade. A year later, the uranium would be returned as refined fuel rods, a product which is difficult to refine for military purposes.

For months, Iranian officials have criticized the plan, which was backed by the US, Russia, China, Britain France, and Germany. Iran offered an alternative to the plan in writing to the IAEA, according to the Associated Press. In its proposal, Tehran agreed to exchange enriched uranium in return for immediate supplies of research reactor fuel.

The Iranian response is seen as a rejection by western diplomats. Iran continues to assert that its nuclear program is peaceful and intended to generate energy.