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By Parisa Hafezi
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will accept the framework of a U.N.-drafted nuclear fuel deal, but will demand some "important changes," al Alam state television reported on Tuesday.
The Arabic-language satellite television station, citing an unnamed official, said Iran would present its response to the proposed agreement within 48 hours.
Al Alam said Iran would "agree to the general framework of the draft proposal but will request some important changes."
It did not give details about on what kind of changes Tehran would seek to the draft agreement hammered out by U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei in consultations with Iran, Russia, France and the United States in Vienna last week.
Iran's atomic energy organisation was not immediately available for comment.
The report came a day after Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran could endorse the deal for it to send potential nuclear fuel abroad for processing, the first official indication it could respond positively to the outline agreement.
The draft pact calls for Iran to transfer some 80 percent of its known 1.5 tonnes of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for further enrichment by the end of this year, then to France for conversion into fuel plates.
These would be returned to Tehran to fuel a research reactor that produces radio-isotopes for cancer treatment.
On Monday, a senior Iranian lawmaker said the Islamic state should send its LEU abroad in several phases for further processing, rather than in one batch.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of parliament's Foreign Affairs and National Security committee, said the transfer should take place gradually as the West had "repeatedly violated agreements" in the past. He also called for "necessary guarantees."
"WIN-WIN"
Understandings on the fuel plan and U.N. monitoring of a newly-disclosed enrichment site under construction were struck at Geneva talks on October 1 between Iran and six world powers -- the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain.
A team of U.N. inspectors arrived in Iran early on Sunday to visit the new site about 160 km south of Tehran.
The powers see the deals as litmus tests of Iran's stated intent to use enriched uranium only for peaceful ends, and a basis for more ambitious negotiations on curbing enrichment in Iran to defuse a crisis over its nuclear aspirations.
Mottaki said on Monday Iran would announce its decision on the nuclear fuel agreement in the next few days, after Iran missed a Friday deadline.
For the powers, the deal's value lies in cutting the quantity of Iran's LEU needed to fuel a bomb, if it were highly enriched. If 80 percent were removed, Iran would need about a year to replenish it at its current rate of enrichment.
Boroujerdi and other MPs have criticised the draft deal and made clear their preference for Iran to buy the needed reactor fuel rather than send its own stockpile abroad.
But one parliamentarian, Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, described the draft deal as a "win-win" for the parties involved, IRNA news agency reported: "In view of the mutual efforts made, it can be said that the Vienna negotiations had a win-win outcome."
But Boroujerdi reiterated his objections to sending Iran's uranium abroad. "Because we need the current fuel stockpile in the country for the power plants that are under construction," Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.
(Additional reporting by Hossein Jaseb, Hashem Kalanatari and Reza Derakhshi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Samia Nakhoul)

Reuters