Netanyahu praises plan Iran rejects

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised a U.S.-led initiative to get Iran to relinquish temporarily its low-grade enriched uranium.

The offer "is a good first step," Israel Radio quoted Netanyahu as saying last Friday.

Iran reportedly had rejected the initiative the previous day after having welcomed it earlier this month.

Under the plan, Iran would export the bulk of its low-grade enriched uranium to Russia and then France for further enrichment to medical research levels.

The plan is part of a U.S.-led effort to get Iran to end its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Netanyahu spoke while meeting last Friday with George Mitchell, the Obama administration’s top Middle East envoy, in preparation for a visit over the weekend by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It will be Clinton’s first visit to Israel since Netanyahu assumed office in March. The Obama administration is attempting to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and Clinton also will be meeting with Palestinian Authority officials.

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