Iran produces Uranium metal, breaches nuclear deal even as Russia appeals for calm

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Feb 11, 2021, 01:58 PM(IST)

File photo: Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran. Photograph:( AFP )

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France, Britain and Germany, all parties to the deal, last month said they were "deeply concerned" and that Iran's uranium metal production had no civilian credibility but potentially serious military implications

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed on Wednesday that Iran had carried out its plan to produce Uranium metal. Iran has done this in spite of the warning by western powers that it would be a breach of 2015 nuclear deal. Uranium metal can be used to make the core of an atom bomb.

US under former President Barack Obama had brought Iran and other world powers on the negotiating table to strike the nuclear deal in 2015. But Donald Trump withdrew US from the accord and as a result, Iran started breaching the provisions of the deal. This has accelerated these breaches in recent months. 

Russia, one of the parties of the nuclear deal with Iran called for 'restraint' as news of Iran making Uranium metal broke.

"We understand the logic of their actions and the reasons prompting Iran. Despite this it is necessary to show restraint and a responsible approach," Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told state news agency RIA Novosti.

A law passed in response to the killing of its top nuclear scientist in November, which Tehran blames on its foe Israel, called for steps including opening a uranium metal plant. Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency in December it planned to produce uranium metal fuel for a research reactor.

"Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today informed IAEA Member States about recent developments regarding Iran's R&D activities on uranium metal production as part of its stated aim to produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor," the IAEA said in a statement.

Wednesday's report along with a previous one said that Iran planned to carry out research on uranium metal using natural uranium before moving on to uranium metal enriched to 20%, the level it is enriching uranium to now, short of the 90% that is weapons grade.

"The Agency on 8 February verified 3.6 gram of uranium metal at Iran's Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant (FPFP) in Esfahan," the IAEA statement added.

France, Britain and Germany, all parties to the deal, last month said they were "deeply concerned" and that Iran's uranium metal production had no civilian credibility but potentially serious military implications.

The 2015 deal's central aim was to extend the time Iran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb to at least a year from roughly 2-3 months. Iran, however, denies ever pursuing nuclear weapons and says it only wants to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

U.S. intelligence agencies and the IAEA believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nuclear weapons programme that it halted in 2003.

(With Reuters inputs)

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