Iran says the West has one month to accept Tehran's terms for a nuclear
fuel deal, or else Iran will begin making fuel on its own.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki delivered the ultimatum Saturday on Iranian state television.
Tehran's proposal follows its rejection of a U.N.-backed deal that
would have Iran ship most of its uranium abroad for processing into
fuel rods. Those rods could then be used in Tehran's nuclear research
That arrangement was designed to reduce Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium, limiting its ability to create nuclear weapons.
Instead, Tehran proposes either buying fuel from the West, or exchanging its uranium for fuel rods in smaller batches.
In Washington, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer
said Iran is "standing in its own way" by issuing an ultimatum. He said
the existing proposal allows Iran to fulfill its request for fuel and
has the backing of the the international community.
Despite Western suspicions, Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Foreign Minister Mottaki said Iran will produce uranium enriched to 20
percent -- the level needed to power its research reactor -- if the
West does not agree to its demands.
Uranium has to be enriched to 90 percent or more for use in a nuclear weapon.
Iran has one working uranium enrichment facility, and has announced plans to build 10 more.
Tehran is under three sets of U.N. sanctions for failing to halt its uranium enrichment activity.