Friday December 6, 2019
Home Lead Story Iran will Con...

Iran will Continue with Low-Level Uranium Enrichment Despite US Move to Stop it

Heavy water can be employed in reactors to produce plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear warheads

0
//
low-level uranium, iran
FILE - Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (C), surrounded by lawmakers, speaks during a session in the capital Tehran, Aug. 28, 2018. VOA

Iran will continue with low-level uranium enrichment in line with its nuclear deal with world powers, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as saying on Saturday, despite a U.S. move to stop it.

Washington acted on Friday to force Iran to stop producing low-enriched uranium and expanding its only nuclear power plant, intensifying a campaign aimed at halting Tehran’s ballistic missile program and curbing its regional power.

“Under the (nuclear accord) Iran can produce heavy water, and this is not in violation of the agreement. Therefore we will carry on with enrichment activity,” the semi-official news agency ISNA quoted Larijani as saying. The Fars agency carried a similar report.

Heavy water can be employed in reactors to produce plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear warheads. The United States also scrapped its sanctions waiver that had allowed Iran to evade a 300-kg limit on the amount of low-enriched uranium it can store under the nuclear deal at its main nuclear facility of Natanz.

low-level uranium
FILE – In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a ceremony marking “National Nuclear Technology Day,” in Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2019. VOA

Washington said the move was aimed at forcing Tehran to end its production of low-enriched uranium, a demand Iran has repeatedly rejected as it says it uses the uranium to help produce electricity. Until now, Iran was allowed to ship low-enriched uranium produced at Natanz to Russia before it hit the 300-kg limit, an expert said. The United States also said it would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship to Oman for storage heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 300-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal.

Separately, President Hassan Rouhani said live on television on Saturday that Iran must counter U.S. sanctions by continuing to export its oil as well as boosting non-oil exports. “America is trying to decrease our foreign reserves … So we have to increase our hard currency income and cut our currency expenditures,” Rouhani said. “Last year, we had we non-oil exports of $43 billion. We should increase production and raise our [non-oil] exports and resist America’s plots against the sale of our oil.”

ALSO READ: RSF Index Ranks Central Asian States ‘The Worst Offenders for Press Freedom’

Friday’s U.S. move, which Rouhani made no direct reference to, was the third punitive action Washington has taken against Iran in as many weeks. Last week, it said it would stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil, in an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. It also blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Trump administration’s efforts to impose political and economic isolation on Tehran began last year when it unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal it and other world powers negotiated with Iran in 2015. (VOA)

Next Story

Javad Zarif Says, Iran not Seeking Nuclear Weapons as Tensions Escalate with US

Zarif said in a tweet that "we're not seeking nuclear weapons," adding that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had issued a fatwa "banning them"

0
nuclear weapons
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (file photo) RFERL

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said Tehran is not seeking nuclear weapons as tensions escalate with the United States. Zarif’s remarks on May 27 came the same day that U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington was not seeking regime change in Iran but wanted to ensure Tehran did not produce nuclear arms.

Zarif said in a tweet that “we’re not seeking nuclear weapons,” adding that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had issued a fatwa “banning them.” He said that U.S. “economic terrorism” was “hurting the Iranian people and causing tension in the region.”

Trump said the United States was “not looking regime change, we’re looking for no nuclear weapons,” following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, adding that he thought “we’ll make a deal” with Tehran over its nuclear program.

nuclear weapons
Zarif said in a tweet that “we’re not seeking nuclear weapons,” adding that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had issued a fatwa “banning them.”. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Bike-Friendly Iranian City Bans Women from Cycling in Public

Relations between Tehran and Washington have plummeted since the United States a year ago pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran that curbed the country’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

Since then, Washington has reimposed sanctions, stepped up its rhetoric, and beefed up its military presence in the Middle East, prompting growing concerns of a possible military conflict with Iran. (RFERL)