• Monday, Nov 29, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:08 am

IAEA: Iran producing uranium metal, further violating 2015 deal

  • Published at 06:06 pm February 11th, 2021
Iran Uranium Enrichment Facility
FILE PHOTO: A view of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility 250 km south of the Iranian capital Tehran on March 30, 2005 Reuters

The news had been expected after Iran said last month it was researching uranium metal production, aiming to provide advanced fuel for a research reactor in Tehran

Iran has started producing uranium metal, the UN nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday, in a fresh breach of the limits laid out in Tehran's 2015 deal with world powers.

The latest violation of the deal, which is aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, came as Iran warned that time was running out for new US president Joe Biden's administration to save the agreement.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement seen by AFP that on February 8, it "verified 3.6 grams of uranium metal at Iran's Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant in Esfahan."

IAEA director general Rafael Grossi informed member states of the new violation, the statement added.

The news had been expected after Iran said last month it was researching uranium metal production, aiming to provide advanced fuel for a research reactor in Tehran.

But the topic is sensitive because uranium metal can be used as a component in nuclear weapons.

The landmark deal -- reached in 2015 by the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France, and Britain -- contained a 15-year ban on "producing or acquiring plutonium or uranium metals or their alloys."

The deal says that after 10 years, Iran would have been allowed to initiate research on producing uranium metal-based fuel "in small, agreed quantities," but only if the other parties had given approval.

The new violation comes a month after Iran announced it had stepped up its uranium enrichment process to 20% purity, far above the 3.67% level permitted by the deal but far below the amount required for an atomic bomb.

In 2018, US president Donald Trump dramatically withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Tehran. The following year, Tehran announced it would start breaking the deal's limits on nuclear activity.

Trump's successor Biden is seeking to revive the agreement, but the two sides appear to be in a standoff over who acts first.

"If they want Iran to return to its commitments... the United States must entirely lift the sanctions, in practice and not on paper," supreme Iranian leader Ali Khamenei said on Sunday.

When Biden was asked later that day whether he would halt sanctions to convince Iran to return to the bargaining table, Biden offered a clear reply: "No."

On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that "with the new administration in Washington, there is an opportunity to try a new approach, but the current window is fleeting."

"Soon my government will be compelled to take further remedial action in response to the American and European dismal failure to live up to their commitments under the nuclear deal," Zarif said in a YouTube video marking the 42nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail