Iran's nuclear chief has signalled that the country could offer a compromise in talks on its atomic energy programme this week.
Atomic Energy Organisation head Fereidoun Abbasi said Iran could pledge to stop producing its most highly enriched uranium while retaining some ability to make nuclear fuel.
The proposal outlined late on Sunday seeks to directly address one of the main issues in this Friday's talks between Iran and the five permanent UN security council members plus Germany.
The US and others have aired concerns about Iran's production and stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 per cent, which could be turned into weapons-grade strength in months.
Mr Abbasi said Tehran could stop producing the 20 per cent enriched uranium, which is needed for medical research and treatments, and continue enriching uranium to lower levels for power generation.
This could take place once Iran has stockpiled enough of the 20 per cent enriched uranium, he told state TV.
But the proposal may not satisfy the West which continues to insist Tehran is seeking atomic weapons - despite repeated denials, a declaration by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam, and a total lack of evidence that Iran has a weapons programme.
Uranium has to be enriched to more than 90 per cent to be used for a nuclear weapon.
Mr Abbasi said production of uranium enriched to 20 per cent was not part of the nation's long-term programme and insisted Iran "doesn't need" to enrich beyond 20 per cent.
"The job is being carried out based on need," he said.
"When the need is met, we will decrease production."
It was not immediately clear whether his comments reflect what will be Tehran's official stance when the negotiations begin in Istanbul more than 14 months after the last round collapsed.
Oil prices fell more than $1 yesterday to between $102.01 (£64) and $122.46 (£76) a barrel amid hopes the talks may help avert a Western military attack on Iran.
Fears that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities by Israel or the US would disrupt global supplies have helped push oil prices up from $75 (£47) in October.
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