Iran’s announcement that it is moving closer to sending low-grade nuclear material to China for reprocessing has caused a rift in the international community over how to deal with an assertive Iran. “In Germany, Manouchehr Mottaki said a deal to send enriched uranium overseas in exchange for nuclear fuel could be reached in a ‘not too distant future’. China, opposed to imposing new sanctions against Tehran, said talks with the international community had reached a ‘crucial stage’. But western ministers reacted with scepticism to Mr Mottaki’s comments. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said, in remarks quoted by Reuters news agency: ‘Our hand is still reaching out towards them [Iran]. But so far it’s reaching out into nothingness.’ And the US National Security Adviser, General James Jones, warned of tighter sanctions and deeper isolation for Iran. The US and its allies fear Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful in purpose. The BBC Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne, reporting from London, says the strong suspicion is that the Iranian remarks are just another attempt to fend off new sanctions being proposed by the United States.”
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