Vienna, May 24 IANS | 2 months ago

Iran has cut its most sensitive nuclear stockpile by more than 80 percent in implementing a nuclear deal with six world powers, and is cooperating with the UN nuclear agency to provide greater transparency of its nuclear plan, a UN report said Friday.


A monthly updating confidential report of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed that Tehran has been curbing its disputed nuclear activities under the landmark Geneva deal agreed last November after the pact came into force Jan 20, Xinhua reported.

The report said Iran has cut the amount of its 20 percent enriched uranium by more than 80 percent by diluting or feeding the nuclear stockpile into the conversion process during the past four months, which amounted to 209 kg when the deal took effect.

"Iran's stock of UF6 enriched up to 20 percent U-235 has decreased from 209.1 kg to 38.4 kg," IAEA noted in the document.

The 20 percent uranium enrichment is seen as one of the most controversial elements in Iran's nuclear plan, as the nuclear fuel could be used in producing a nuclear weapon if further enriched.

Experts say making a nuclear bomb needs at lest around 240 kg 20 percent enriched uranium.

Western states suspect Tehran was heading for an atomic weapon secretly under the cover of its civilian nuclear plan, and want Iran to significantly scale back its nuclear programme to address their concerns.

However, Iran insists the allegation is baseless and forged, saying it would never abandon its nuclear right in seeking peaceful nuclear plan.

Under the Geneva interim deal agreed last November between Iran and the so called P5+1 group (Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany), Iran would freeze some controversial nuclear activities in six months in exchange for a limited easing of Western sanctions on the oil-depending nation's economy.

The landmark pact is designed to buy time for negotiations on a final, long-term solution for the decade-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear plan.

The IAEA is playing a pivotal role in monitoring whether Iran is complying with deal, helping to rebuild international confidence in resolving the matter through diplomacy.

In a November 2011 IAEA report, the UN nuclear agency said it had got "credible" information that Iran might have carried out nuclear weapon research secretly.

IAEA and Iran struck a deal last November, under which Iran pledged to cooperate with the agency, providing greater transparency of its nuclear plan.

The IAEA-Iran talks are separate from the negotiation track between Tehran and the P5+1 group. But US officials say it is vital for Iran to resolve the IAEA's concerns if Tehran is to strike a long-term deal with the six world powers on its nuclear plan by a deadline of July 20.

(Posted on 24-05-2014)