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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders urged Iran on Friday to accept a U.N.-drafted nuclear fuel deal, saying progress would open the way to cooperation with the EU.
Iran has proposed changes to the agreement reached with the United States, France and Russia, Iranian media said on Thursday, making demands that appeared to challenge its basis.
The deal, drawn up by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), would involve Iran sending potential nuclear fuel abroad for processing to allay Western concerns that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons.
A statement due to be issued by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels said they remained gravely concerned about Iran's nuclear programme.
"The European Council also calls upon Iran to agree with the IAEA to the scheme of nuclear fuel supply for the Tehran research reactor, which would contribute to building confidence while responding to Iran's need for medical radio-isotopes," said the statement, which was obtained by Reuters.
"Progress ... would pave the way for enhanced relations between the EU and Iran and open the way to mutually beneficial cooperation in the political, economic, security and technical fields."
It said the Council of EU leaders would "decide in the context of the dual-track approach on our next steps".
This is a reference to a policy proposing incentives for Iran to abandon its nuclear work, or sanctions if it does not.
The amendments proposed by Iran, according to the pro-government daily Javan, are likely non-starters for Western powers, which suspect Iran is covertly developing nuclear arms. Tehran says its programme is only for producing electricity.
Diplomats say EU ministers have already asked the EU's executive Commission to look into additional sanctions.
The statement also called for the immediate and unconditional release of staff at EU missions in Iran and European citizens who have been on trial.
Britain says an Iranian employee of the British embassy in Tehran has been jailed for four years for spying.
Hossein Rassam, political counsellor at the British embassy, was put on trial in August along with a Frenchwoman and dozens of moderates accused of inciting unrest after Iran's disputed presidential election in June.

Reuters