No Plan to Transfer LEU

No Plan to Transfer LEUNo Plan to Transfer LEU

Negotiations underway with "northern neighbors" are not aimed at "transfer" of Iran's low enriched uranium, but rather "swapping" it for natural uranium, the foreign minister said.

Rejecting recent reports about transfer of enriched uranium to Russia and Kazakhstan, Mohammad Javad Zarif said, "We have never considered transfer of enriched uranium. We have been discussing swapping it."

"Thus, any country recipient of our enriched uranium will provide us with natural uranium in return," he told ICANA on Friday.

"The deal has terminated the ban on imports of natural uranium and yellow cake."   

Iran has to reduce its stockpile of LEU as part of temporary constraints it accepted on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief under the deal it reached in July with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany).

The accord says, "During the 15 year period [after the pact goes into force], and as Iran gradually moves to meet international qualification standards for nuclear fuel produced in Iran, it will keep its uranium stockpile under 300 kg of up to 3.67% enriched uranium hexafluoride [UF6] or the equivalent in other chemical forms. The excess quantities are to be sold based on international prices and delivered to the international buyer in return for natural uranium delivered to Iran, or are to be down-blended to natural uranium level."

In addition to shipping out and diluting the excess enriched uranium, there is a third way, Zarif added.

"Another way is to gain access to the technology for making fuel rods and according to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official name of the nuclear deal), the P5+1 are bound to assist Iran in this regard."