updated 2/15/2004 10:53:11 AM ET 2004-02-15T15:53:11

Iran has offered to sell nuclear reactor fuel on the international market as a way to demonstrate that it has the technology, a senior foreign ministry official said Sunday.

Iran has the technology to enrich uranium for the fuel, but hasn’t done so, the official said, in remarks signaling Iran soon may resume uranium enrichment, which it suspended last fall.

Once it produces nuclear fuel, Iran would market it under the supervision of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the official added, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The United States seeks to restrict countries from acquiring uranium enrichment technology if they have not already done so. Iran’s sale of fuel internationally would be proof that it already possess the capability.

The U.S. government suspects Iran of conducting a secret program to build nuclear weapons. Iranian officials insist their program is only peaceful and geared toward energy production.

Iran is opposed to nuclear proliferation but wants to establish itself as a country that possesses enrichment technology, the foreign ministry official said in explaining remarks by Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi that were reported Saturday by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

IRNA quoted Kharrazi as saying that “the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a country which has potential on producing nuclear fuel, is ready to offer its produced fuel to international markets.”

In October, Iran agreed to more intensive international inspections of its nuclear facilities and to suspend the production of enriched uranium.

Kharrazi has said Iran’s achievements in nuclear technology were a source of “national honor” that Tehran won’t relinquish.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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