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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Candidate running against Ahmadinejad calls for nuke fuel consortium based in Iran

NICOSIA — An Iranian presidential candidate has proposed the formation of an international nuclear fuel consortium to neutralize opposition to Iran's enrichment program.   

Mohsen Rezai, regarded as close to the dominant Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said if elected he would establish an international consortium that would be responsible for nuclear fuel production and distribution. Rezai said this would end Western opposition to Iran's uranium enrichment program, banned by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Iran would be able to continue enriching uranium with the active legal participation of international bodies and other countries," Rezai said in an interview with Iran's Press Television on June 1.

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Rezai, regarded as a dark horse challenger to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 12 elections, said the international nuclear fuel consortium would be based in Iran. He said the company would invite European and other Middle East states as shareholders.

"Each member would have its own rights, and Iran would head a governing board that included international members," Rezai said.

Iran has sought to become a nuclear fuel supplier through its development of uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz. Officials said Iran was building a fleet of 54,000 gas centrifuges for an industrial nuclear fuel program.

Despite his challenge, Rezai was said to be a firm supporter of Iran's nuclear program. The remaining candidates in the presidential elections have been former Prime Minister Mir Hossain Mousavi and former parliamentary speaker Mahdi Karroubi.

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