Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Monday that Tehran will inaugurate a new unit in the next three months to produce plate fuel for the country's nuclear research reactors which produce radioisotopes for medical uses.Salehi made the remarks in a meeting with the officials of Iran's Chamber of Commerce in Tehran on Monday. Salehi, who formerly headed the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, had last year stressed the country's ability to convert enriched uranium into fuel plates to supply fuel for the Tehran research reactor, saying the first consignment of 20-percent enriched fuel for the reactor will be ready as soon as the next year. "We will have the capability to produce plate fuel in the next year," Salehi said, addressing the audience in a ceremony to mark shipment of the first batch of Iran's home-produced uranium yellowcake - the raw material used for nuclear fuel production - to Isfahan's Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF). Reiterating Iran's ability to enrich uranium to the purity level of 20% to produce fuel plates for the Tehran research reactor, he mentioned at the time that the country has produced about 35kg of 20% enriched uranium, which means that the western claims about Iran's inability to do so have all been wrong and unfounded. After western suppliers shrugged off Iran's request for the supply of nuclear fuel for the Tehran research reactor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the AEOI to provide and install the necessary equipments to start enriching uranium to the purity level of 20% to feed the research reactor which produces radioisotopes for medicinal use. The country on February 2, 2010, started injecting gas into a cascade of centrifuges to enrich uranium to the purity level of 20% to supply fuel for its research reactor, all under the supervision of the IAEA inspectors. After Iran announced to the 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%-enriched uranium and receive 20%-enriched uranium from potential suppliers in return, all through the UN nuclear watchdog agency. The proposal was first introduced on October 1, 2010, when Iranian representatives and diplomats from the Group 5+1 held high-level talks in Geneva. But France and the United States, as potentials 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. Iranian lawmakers rejected the 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 any less than seven months. Iran then put forward its own proposal that envisaged 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. The western countries opposed Tehran's proposal. After West's opposition to Iran's proposal, Iranian, Brazilian and Turkish officials on May 17, 2010, signed an agreement named the 'Tehran Declaration' which presented a solution to a longstanding standoff between Iran and potential suppliers of nuclear fuel. According to the agreement, Iran would send some 1200 kg of its 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for a total 120 kg of 20% enriched fuel. But again the western countries showed a negative and surprising reaction to the Tehran Declaration and sponsored a sanctions resolution against Iran at the UN Security Council instead of taking the opportunity presented by the agreement. Russia, France, and the US, in three separate letters, instead of giving a definite response to the Tehran Declaration, raised some questions about the deal, and the US took a draft sanctions resolution against Iran to the UN Security Council, which was later approved by the Council. Iran in a letter responded to the questions raised by the Vienna Group on the Tehran Declaration and voiced its preparedness to hold talks. In a later move, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano proposed a plan to resume talks between the two sides, and Iran's foreign minister announced Tehran's agreement with Amano's proposal. "Iran is ready to take part in the meeting brokered by Amano," the then Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said. Yet, the western suppliers postponed the meeting, making it unclear if they would ever start considering Iran's request seriously. Accordingly, Iran announced that it would continue domestic enrichment plans to supply fuel for its reactor as it would never allow the western powers to play games or trample upon its rights in exchange for nuclear fuel.