Iran on Saturday gave the West a one-month "ultimatum" to accept a uranium swap, warning that if there is no deal it will produce its own nuclear fuel for a Tehran reactor, state television reported.
"The international community has just one month left to decide" whether or not it will accept Iran's conditions, otherwise "Tehran will enrich uranium to a higher level," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted as saying.
"This is an ultimatum," he said.
Iran, which rejected a Dec. 31 deadline to accept a U.N.-brokered deal, said on Tuesday it is ready to swap abroad its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel, insisting however that the exchange should happen in stages.
Tehran has rejected a proposal by U.N. nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ship out most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium for further processing by Russia and France into fuel for a research reactor.
Iran said it was ready for a fuel swap "in several stages," and in late December Mottaki said Iran is open to exchanging uranium on Turkish soil. The IAEA has ruled out a swap taking place on Iranian territory.
World powers have been pushing for Iran to accept the U.N.-brokered deal and are also mulling plans to impose fresh U.N. sanctions against Tehran after the Islamic republic dismissed the year-end deadline.
Iran is already under three sets of U.N. sanctions for refusing to abandon its sensitive program of uranium enrichment, the process which produces nuclear fuel or, in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.
The international community has just one month left to decide whether or not it will accept Iran's conditions, otherwise Tehran will enrich uranium to a higher level