U.S. denies Iran given new fuel swap proposal

WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The United States denied on Monday an Iranian report that it had made new proposals along with France and Russia on a nuclear fuel swap, and said “the door remains open” for Tehran to accept a proposal offered in the autumn.

“The door remains open for Iran to accept the practical, fair, and responsible proposal put forth by the IAEA last fall that would enable Iran to meet its medical humanitarian needs as well as build international confidence in Iranian intentions,” White House spokesman Mike Hammer said.

France also dismissed the report, saying the existing deal was the only valid offer. Russia also said the countries had simply confirmed their support for a proposal brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year to send much of Iran’s low enriched uranium abroad.

Washington and its allies fear Iran wants to acquire nuclear weapons, and are lobbying for new United Nations sanctions, but Tehran says its aims are purely peaceful.

Earlier the semi-official ILNA news agency quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy organization, as saying proposals had been received after Tehran opted to step up its own uranium enrichment, a decision it announced last week.

“Iran should engage directly with the IAEA. There is no new proposal on the table,” Hammer said.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Editing by Sandra Maler