IAEA says Iran's higher-enriched uranium stockpile declined

IAEA says Iran's higher-enriched uranium stockpile declined

PanARMENIAN.Net - Iran's stockpile of higher-enriched uranium has declined significantly for the first time in four years after it stopped such enrichment activity under a landmark nuclear deal with world powers, the UN atomic agency said Thursday, Feb 20, according to Reuters.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also indicated that Iran was meeting its commitments under the November 24 pact with the powers to curb its most proliferation-prone nuclear work in exchange for some easing of sanctions.

It was issued to member states just hours after Iran and the six big powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia - wound up a first round of negotiations in Vienna aimed at a final settlement of the decade-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear program. The next round is slated for March 17.

UN nuclear inspectors are playing a critical role in monitoring that Iran is living up to its side of last year's six-month accord, designed to buy time for the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement over atomic activity Tehran says is entirely peaceful but the West fears may have military aims.

Iran's reserve of uranium refined to a 20 percent fissile concentration fell to 161 kg in February from about 196 kg in November, the IAEA report said. Iran suspended higher-grade enrichment under the November deal and has since converted some of the material into oxide and diluted some to a lower purity.

However, the stock of low-enriched - or 5 percent purity - uranium rose to 7,609 kg from 7,154 kg in November. This apparently resulted from a delay in constructing a plant to convert some of the material into a form less suitable for processing into high-enriched bomb material.

Iran's holding of uranium - which Tehran says it needs to fuel a planned network of nuclear power plants - is closely watched in the West as it could provide weapons-suitable material if refined much further. Iran denies any such goal.

Related links:
 Top stories
The political leader of Iraq's Kurds earlier appealed for international military aid to help defeat the Islamist militants.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu visited the town of Soma, which in May was the scene of Turkey's worst ever mining disaster.
The embassy staff were evacuated to neighboring Tunisia "due to the ongoing violence, the U.S. State Department said.
Another 10,000 fled Mosul after ISIS took control at the beginning of June and numbers dropped have fallen rapidly since.
Partner news
Soghomon Tehlirian assassinated Talaat Pasha on March 15, 1921

Operation Nemesis was a covert operation by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation carried out from 1920 to 1922, during which a number of former Ottoman political and military figures were assassinated for their role in the Armenian Genocide.