|Iran readies plant needed to fulfill nuclear deal||
Iran appears to be finalizing a plant to convert a large amount of low-enriched uranium gas into oxide form, Reuters reported on Tuesday citing a UN watchdog report.
Under last year’s landmark accord with six world powers on its nuclear program, Iran needs to take action by late July to limit its stockpile of uranium gas refined to a fissile concentration of up to 5 percent. It was one of the terms of the interim deal that won Tehran some sanctions easing.
To be able to do that, Iran has been building a facility near the central city of Isfahan for turning the gas into powder. A new UN nuclear agency report said its commissioning had now begun.
In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had transferred 4.3 tons of low-grade uranium gas to the site from its Natanz enrichment plant. It did not say when conversion into oxide would get under way.
“I think we will hear anytime soon that it has started up with the actual material,” one Western diplomat said.
The major powers negotiated the six-month deal with Iran to buy time for talks on a final deal to help resolve a decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program. Those talks began in February and are due to resume in June.
While Iran under the November accord halted enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, it is allowed under the pact to continue producing uranium refined to up to 5 percent.
Earlier IAEA reports have shown that Iran is meeting all the other requirements under the interim agreement.
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