Ahmadinejad hints at Iran nuclear compromise

Iran would stop higher-grade enrichment if it is assured of nuclear fuel supplies for a research reactor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a Japanese newspaper yesterday.

Published on the eve of the inauguration of Iran's first nuclear power plant, Mr Ahmadinejad's comments appeared to signal a willingness to compromise on a key concern for the West.

Major powers suspect Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons, a fear heightened by its move in February to start enriching uranium to a level of 20 percent, compared to about 3.5 percent previously, taking it closer to weapons-grade levels.

Iran says its work is for peaceful purposes and it had to enrich to higher levels after UN-backed talks for a fuel-swap deal with the US, Russia and France stalled last year.