Iran Nuclear NewsIran set to resume 'noticeable part' of uranium conversion...

Iran set to resume ‘noticeable part’ of uranium conversion activities

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AFP: Iran has decided to restart a part of its nuclear programme that had been suspended as part of a deal with
the European Union and a “noticeable part” of uranium conversion activities will soon resume, a senior official said Thursday. “Based on the reviews and decisions which were made, we are going to restart a small part of the suspended activities,” Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, a vice president and
head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, told state television. AFP

TEHRAN – Iran has decided to restart a part of its nuclear programme that had been suspended as part of a deal with the European Union and a “noticeable part” of uranium conversion activities will soon resume, a senior official said Thursday.

“Based on the reviews and decisions which were made, we are going to restart a small part of the suspended activities,” Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, a vice president and head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, told state television.

He said “probably a noticeable part of UCF”, or work at a uranium conversion facility near the central city of Isfahan, would be resumed.

Aghazadeh added that the “exact date of the restart will be given to me momentarily”. Late on Wednesday Aghazadeh also said that when the decision was made, activities would resume the next day.

The Isfahan facility is used to convert mined uranium “yellowcake” into uranium tetrafluoride (UF4) and then into uranium hexafluoride (UF6), a feed gas for centrifuges that carry out the highly sensitive enrichment process.

Enriched uranium can be used for peaceful power generation but also as the explosive core of a nuclear bomb. Iran asserts it only wants to generate electricity.

A resumption of conversion work, which is a part of the wider process of enrichment, would violate a November 2004 deal with Britain, France and Germany aimed at easing international fears the clerical regime is seeking the bomb.

The agreement kicked off talks in which the EU are offering a package of incentives in return for “objective guarantees” that Tehran will not develop weapons, and had spared Iran the danger of being referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

But Iran has expressed frustration with the pace of the negotiations.

The sticking point is Iran’s ambition to master the full nuclear fuel cycle and European demands that Iran abandon such work. The EU-3 have rejected an Iranian proposal to begin a phased resumption of enrichment, drawing complaints from Iran that the talks are being deliberately dragged out so as to keep the freeze in place.

Aghazadeh said Iran had every right to resume conversion work, even though it has stopped short of resuming enrichment itself.

“The reason for this is that our suspension is voluntary, and legally (a resumption) does not need any permission or agreement,” he said, adding a decision to resume certain activities would provide a “necessary balance” to the talks.

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