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AP Interview: Iran speaker eyes surplus uranium

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 4 2015 10:25 p.m. MDT

Iran's Parliament speaker Ali Larijani answers a question during a press conference on the sidelines of the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013.  (Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi, Associated Press) Iran's Parliament speaker Ali Larijani answers a question during a press conference on the sidelines of the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. (Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi, Associated Press)

GENEVA — Iran has more enriched uranium than it needs and plans to use that as a bargaining chip at nuclear talks in Geneva next week, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Wednesday.

In an Associated Press interview, Larijani said the surplus uranium would be discussed with Western powers in the context of possibly halting its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, which has been a key concession sought in the negotiations.

"Through the process of negotiations, yes, things can be said and they can discuss this matter," he said, on the sidelines of a meeting of the world organization of parliaments.

The 20-percent-enriched uranium is much closer to warhead-grade material than the level needed for energy-producing nuclear reactors, but Larijani says it needs the higher enrichment solely for energy, research and isotopes for medical treatments, not for nuclear weapons.

Iran's Parliament speaker Ali Larijani listens to a question during a press conference on the sidelines of the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013.  (Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi, Associated Press) Iran's Parliament speaker Ali Larijani listens to a question during a press conference on the sidelines of the 129th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. (Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi, Associated Press)

He said Iran produced the enriched uranium itself because the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency would not provide it.

"But we have some surplus, you know, the amount that we don't need. Over that we can have some discussions," he said, referring to next week's talks with Western powers.

Iran plans to negotiate over its nuclear program next week with the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

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