Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms, the U.N. nuclear agency says. The conversion of its stock of 20 per cent-enriched uranium was part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran had more than 200 kilograms of the enriched uranium—nearly enough for one warhead. A report released Sunday by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed that Iran had met the terms of the six-month agreement, under which it limited its atomic activities in exchange for some easing of sanctions that are crippling its economy.
There continue to be important gaps … between the parties.
The U.S. said last week it would unblock $2.8 billion in frozen Iranian funds in return for Iran’s compliance. A four-month extension to talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions was agreed on Friday between Iran and world powers. The six powers—the United States, France, China, Russia, Germany and Britain—want Iran to significantly reduce its uranium enrichment programme to ensure that it cannot produce nuclear bombs. Iran currently has about 20,000 centrifuges, with half of them operating and officials recently signalled they are ready to freeze that number for now. But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said last week it was “crystal clear” that even 10,000 are too many. Iran says its programme is peaceful and wants sanctions on the oil-dependent economy to be lifted as soon as possible.