JERUSALEM – An official Iranian government news agency has announced that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a telephone conversation with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez in which the Iranian leader announced the country’s agreement with Brazil’s proposal on nuclear fuel swap for its research reactor in Tehran.During the conversation on Tuesday, President Ahmadinejad said that he announced his agreement in principle on Brazilian President Lula Da Silva’s proposal and called for continuation of talks on technical issues in Tehran.

President Chavez told Mr. Ahmadinejad that Venezuela supports his stances on international issues.

Earlier last week, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, on a visit to Tehran, had said that he hopes an Iran nuclear fuel swap deal could be revived to end disputes over Iran’s nuclear program.

Meantime, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said on

Tuesday he is still optimistic that a long awaited nuclear fuel swap between

Tehran and the West would eventually take place.

“The grounds that we have observed indicate that this [swap] is possible and show our strong logic,” Mr. Mehman-Parast said in his weekly press conference.

“If the opposite sides are really ready to swap fuel, then we will do the swap,” Mehman-Parast added.

He reiterated Iran’s conditions for nuclear swap – simultaneous swap of certain amounts of enriched uranium inside the Iranian soil – and stated, “We are still ready for swapping fuel. And such an exchange may build some confidence between the two sides.”

After Iran announced to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that it had run out of nuclear fuel for its research reactor in Tehran, the Agency proposed a deal according to which Iran would send 3.5 percent enriched uranium and receive 20 percent-enriched uranium from potential suppliers in return, all through the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

The proposal was first introduced on October 1, when Iranian representatives and diplomats from the Group 5+1 held high-level talks in Geneva.

But France and the United States, as potential suppliers, stalled the talks soon after the start. They offered a deal which would keep Tehran waiting for months before it can obtain the fuel, a luxury of time that Iran cannot afford as it is about to run out of 20-percent-enriched uranium.

Iran had rejected the proposed deal after technical studies showed that it would only take two to three months for any country to further enrich the nuclear stockpile and turn it into metal nuclear rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, while suppliers had announced that they would not return fuel to Iran in any less than seven months.

Iran put forward its own proposal that envisages a two-staged exchange. According to Tehran’s offer, the IAEA safeguards nearly one third of Iran’s uranium stockpile inside the Iranian territory for the time that it takes to find a supplier.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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