Iran to import 950 tons of yellow cake, England getting in way

February 25, 2017 - 20:9

TEHRAN – Iran has placed a request to a joint commission of the international nuclear deal for yellow cake imports from Kazakhstan, its nuclear chief said on Saturday while lamenting that London is getting in the way.

“We have sent a request for the import of 950 tons of yellow cake from Kazakhstan,” ISNA news agency quoted Ali Akbar Salehi as saying on Saturday.

Yellow cake imports follow the 2015 nuclear deal that removed economic sanctions against Iran after it agreed to roll back its nuclear program.

Imported yellow material will be processed to produce uranium hexafluoride enriched up to 3.6 percent, of which Iran is not allowed to have more than 300 kg.

Excess amounts of uranium hexafluoride have to be down blended to natural uranium level or to be sold on the international market and delivered to the international buyer in return for natural uranium delivered to Iran.

For Iran to purchase required material for its nuclear activities, a joint commission of six signatories to the deal, the U.S., Russia, China, France, England and Germany, will have to agree.

England has so far shown hesitation to agree with Iran’s request, Salehi, a U.S.-educated nuclear physicist, stated.

“While five signatories to the deal have declared their written approval to the joint commission, England changed its stance at the last moment,” Salehi noted, citing results of the U.S. elections and Middle East issues as possible reasons. 

“Still we are waiting for England to declare its final written stance.”

Hesitation shown by London is unwarranted as Tehran has so far liven up to its obligation as verified by the most recent report by the International Atomic Energy Organization.

A confidential report by the body, which oversees the implementation of the deal, obtained by Reuters made clear Iran’s official stock of enriched uranium has fallen by half.

“As of 18 February 2017, the quantity of Iran’s uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent U-235 was 101.7 kg,” the IAEA said in a quarterly report on Iran, its first since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Also, Iran has already imported 382 tons of yellow cake in two shipments from Russia.

Tehran has announced plans to grow more independent of yellow cake imports considering deposits of natural uranium in the country.

“We have identified deposits of raw uranium and we hope to reach self-sufficiency in the next year,” Salehi pointed out.  

Processing facilities in Ardakan, central Iran, will be used for this purpose, he added.

AK/PA

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