More Enriched Uranium to Be Converted

More Enriched Uranium to Be Converted
More Enriched Uranium to Be Converted

Iran will convert more of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel under an extended nuclear deal with the major powers, Reuters quoted a diplomatic source and a US think-tank as saying on Monday.

Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China, and Russia failed to meet a November 24 deadline for resolving their dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program. They gave themselves until the end of June for further negotiations.

It was the second time this year they had missed a self-imposed target for a comprehensive agreement under which Iran would accept temporary constraints on its nuclear program in exchange for an end to sanctions. As a result, a preliminary accord reached in late 2013 in Geneva will remain in force. Under its terms, Iran halted production of enriched uranium to a purity level of 20 percent in return for limited easing of sanctions.

Accordingly, Iran earlier this year diluted or converted its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium gas. A large part of it was processed into oxide.  When the deal was first extended in July, Iran undertook to convert 25 kg of the uranium oxide - a quarter of the total - into nuclear fuel during the initial four-month extension. The diplomatic source said Iran would now continue this work and he suggested around 5 kg would be converted per month.

The US-based Arms Control Association said 35 kg of uranium oxide would be turned into fuel over s seven-month period. It claimed Iran had also made specific commitments limiting its development of advanced centrifuges to refine uranium. Iran has made it clear that any final accord on its nuclear work must see its nuclear research and development program remain in place.

In a letter seen by Reuters on Monday, Iran and the six powers asked the UN nuclear watchdog to continue checks that Tehran is honoring its undertakings, including “monitoring of fuel fabrication” for a Tehran research reactor.

All International Atomic Energy Agency reports on Iran, which have been issued since the Geneva deal came into force in January, have confirmed that Tehran has met its commitments under the interim agreement.  The governing board of the UN nuclear agency will hold an extraordinary meeting in Vienna on December 11 to discuss its monitoring of the nuclear deal extension.

Iran denies seeking a nuclear weapons capability, saying its nuclear energy program is meant solely for peaceful applications, including electricity generation.