Iran set to export enriched uranium to Russia

Iran's nuclear chief says the country will export most of its enriched uranium to Russia as it rushes to implement the nuclear deal.

Ben Ariel ,

Ali Akbar Salehi
Ali Akbar Salehi

Iran will export most of its enriched uranium to Russia in the coming days as it rushes to implement the nuclear deal with the West, Reuters reported Saturday, citing Tehran's nuclear chief.

Iran drastically reducing its stock of enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons, was at the heart of the deal it reached in July with the six world powers.

Under the terms of the deal, Iran must cut its stockpile to around 300 kg (660 lb) and mothball most of the centrifuges that produce the enriched fuel. It must also remove the core of a heavy water reactor at Arak so it cannot be used to produce plutonium.

"In the next few days around nine tons of Iran's enriched uranium will be exported to Russia," nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by Reuters as saying Saturday.

He said the enriched uranium would be taken out of Iran on board a Russian ship. Iran has already received a shipment of yellowcake, an unenriched uranium compound, from Russia in exchange for the stockpile.

The announcement comes following a recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which determined that Iran had violated the terms of its nuclear deal with the West by increasing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium in the past three months by 460.2 kilograms.

Earlier it was also revealed that Iran had stopped dismantling its centrifuges at the Natanz and Fordow uranium enrichment plants, breaching the nuclear deal that calls for the dismantling.

Nevertheless, the IAEA this week decided to close its probe into whether Iran had developed nuclear weapons in the past.

President Hassan Rouhani's government is aiming to get the sanctions lifted by the end of January, to boost pro-government candidates in February 26 elections to parliament and the Assembly of Experts, the clerical body that chooses the Supreme Leader, noted Reuters.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said in a recent interview that it is "not impossible" that sanctions could be lifted in January.