Diplomats quoted by the Associated Press say Iran will receive 130 tons of natural uranium from Russia as compensation for exporting tons of reactor coolant. According to AP, the move has the Obama administration and five other world power's approval, and represents their strategy to prevent Tehran from abandoning the nuclear pact.
AP cites two "senior diplomats" who said the transfer will consist of 116 metric tons (nearly 130 tons) of natural uranium. UN Security Council approval is needed but a formality, considering five of those powers are permanent Security Council members, they said.
Uranium can be enriched to produce fissile explosive material needed to produce nuclear weapons. David Albright, of the Institute of Science and International Security says the shipment is sufficient to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for more than 10 nuclear bombs, "depending on the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon."
Iran received a similar amount of natural uranium in 2015 as part of negotiations leading up to the nuclear deal, in exchange for enriched uranium it sent to Russia.
The diplomats leaked word of the shipment ahead of a meeting this week in Vienna of representatives of Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to hear Iranian complaints that the U.S. was reneging on sanctions relief pledges included in the nuclear deal.