Iran starts work on uranium metal-based fuel

The move marks Iran’s latest breach of the nuclear deal it signed with six major powers in 2015.

Elad Benari ,

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Iran has started work on uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor, the UN nuclear watchdog and Tehran said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The move marks Iran’s latest breach of the nuclear deal it signed with six major powers in 2015.

“(International Atomic Energy Agency) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today informed IAEA Member States about recent developments regarding Iran’s plans to conduct R&D activities on uranium metal production as part of its declared aim to design an improved type of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor,” the IAEA said in a statement.

The IAEA’s confidential report to member states, obtained by Reuters, said Iran had indicated it plans to produce uranium metal from natural uranium and then produce uranium metal enriched up to 20% for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

Last week, the Islamic Republic announced it had resumed enrichment of uranium at its underground site in Fordow. Iran plans to enrich uranium to 20%, a level it last reached before the 2015 deal.

Iran’s continued violations of the deal are viewed as a means to challenge US President-elect Joe Biden, who has taken a different approach to the Iran deal than Trump and has expressed a desire to rejoin the agreement. He recently told The New York Times that he would do so if Iran returned to compliance with it.

The Iranian government, however, has ruled out the possibility of renegotiating the nuclear deal, saying it was fully discussed in detail five years ago and needs no renegotiations.



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