Tuesday Jan 21, 201402:23 AM GMT
Iran suspends 20% enrichment, starts oxidization
The file photo shows an Iranian technician checking the grounds at Natanz enrichment facility.
The file photo shows an Iranian technician checking the grounds at Natanz enrichment facility.

Iran has suspended 20 percent uranium enrichment as part of a deal struck between Tehran and six major world powers in the Swiss city of Geneva last November.

Iran has suspended enrichment of uranium to the 20-percent purity level at Natanz and Fordow nuclear sites in the presence of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and removed connections between cascades of centrifuges used to produce 20 percent enriched uranium, said Director General for Safeguards Affairs at the (AEOI) Mohammad Amiri.

"From now on, the centrifuges which were used for producing 20 percent enriched uranium will be used for enriching uranium to the five-percent [purity level]," the top Iranian nuclear official pointed out.

Iran also started the process to dilute and oxidize its 196-kg stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium, he added.

He said half of the stockpile will be oxidized over a period of six months at 15 kg a month.

The remaining half of the 20-percent-enriched uranium stockpile will be diluted within three months at “one cylinder per three weeks,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the IAEA has confirmed that Iran has halted enrichment of 20 percent enriched uranium under the Geneva agreement.

A report by the IAEA confirms that Iran stopped 20 percent uranium enrichment by cutting the link feeding cascades enriching uranium at Natanz and Fordow nuclear facilities.

The IAEA also says Iran has given assurances it will not enrich uranium at other locations during the six-month period.

On January 12, Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - Russia, China, France, Britain, and the US - plus Germany finalized an agreement on ways to implement as of January 20 the interim nuclear deal that the two sides struck in Geneva on November 24, 2013.

The accord is aimed at setting the stage for the full resolution of the decade-old standoff over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

MP/NN/HRB

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