|Iran has significantly reduced stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium: report||
TEHRAN – The United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran has diluted half of its stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium, the Associated Press quoted diplomats as saying on Tuesday.
The move is part of Iran’s commitments under a deal with six world powers in effect since January that imposed temporary constraints on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for a partial lifting of sanctions against the country.
A key concern for the six was Iran’s stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, which that say is only a technical step away from the 90 percent grade used to arm nuclear weapons. Iran says it needs 20 percent enriched uranium to fuel a research reactor in Tehran which produces isotopes for cancer treatment.
Iran also says it is not interested in nuclear weapons but is negotiating because it wants an end to all sanctions.
Under the agreement, Iran agreed to halt its 20 percent enrichment program and to turn half of its nearly 200-kilogram (440-pound) stockpile into oxide for reactor fuel. As well, it pledged to dilute the other half into low-enriched uranium.
The UN nuclear agency is due this week to report on Iran’s adherence to the deal and two diplomats told the Associated Press that it would say that Iran has fulfilled its dilution commitment while continuing the process of conversion into oxide.
Iran has until June to fulfill all of its commitments under the deal. But it has to show progress in exchange for sanctions relief, and one of the diplomats said it apparently decided to complete dilution now because it was eager to get its hand on the next tranche of some $4.2 billion of oil revenue funds frozen under international sanctions.
The two are familiar with Iran’s adherence to its commitments. They demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report.
The November agreement between Iran and the six - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - is meant to lead into a comprehensive deal to help resolve a decade-long dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program. The informal deadline for that pact is July but that can be extended with the agreement of both sides.
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