(CNN) -- Iran's atomic energy chief said Wednesday that no deal has been struck to export uranium for enrichment abroad, a demand of Western nations worried that Tehran plans to use its program to build nuclear weapons.
"The discussions are still being conducted, and we will inform the nation of any final agreements," said Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, according to the state-run Iranian Labour News Agency.
Asked what countries in addition to France and Brazil were under consideration, he cited an Asian country, but would not specify which one.
Salehi's remarks came a day after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state-run Press TV that Iran would have "no problem" turning over most of its low-enriched uranium to the West for further enrichment. Iranian diplomats had initially accepted the idea, which was proposed by the West, but then rejected a plan put forth by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the atomic watchdog of the United Nations.
"In our opinion, there are no issues with the exchange" of 3-to-5 percent enriched uranium for 20 percent enriched uranium, Ahmadinejad said.
He added that, if the West were to refuse to return the enriched fuel, world opinion would shift. "If they don't live up to their agreement, the international atmosphere will change in our favor," he said.
They [Western countries] can come and build 20 nuclear power plants for us; Russia, France and the United States can come and sign contracts and build the power plants. It serves our interests as well as theirs. Of course if they don't come to do this, we will reach a point to build our own power plants."
Iran insists its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes.