News / Middle East

IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form
Henry Ridgwell

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous format that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency.  The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions.  

The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has converted its stockpiles of 20 percent enriched uranium into less dangerous forms.  The enriched fuel could be used to make nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies that it is trying to make bombs, and insists the program is for civilian use.

Iran and Western powers agreed Saturday to extend until November a deadline on reaching a long-term agreement on the future of the nuclear program.

But that remains a long way off, says International Institute for Strategic Studies analyst Mark Fitzpatrick.

“They were able to agree to cap the sanctions, to cap the enrichment program, but Iran would not agree to roll it back, to make any reductions.  And that was the sticking point," said  Fitzpatrick.

Speaking Saturday after the two sides agreed to extend the deadline, EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton admitted there is much work ahead.

“While we have made tangible progress on some of the issues and have worked together on a text for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, there are still significant gaps on some core issues, which will require more time and effort," said Ashton.

Ashton is due to step down from her EU role before the end of the year - potentially complicating future negotiations.  Mark Fitzpatrick is skeptical that any deal can be reached in the next four months.

“But in the meantime, Iran’s program is capped.  They are not going to get any closer to being able to develop a weapon.  And of course they say that is not their purpose anyway.  So diplomacy has been working, the program has been capped.  We do not have a solution; we are not likely to have a solution.  In four months, maybe we have to reassess and cap and extend it again," he said.

In return for Iran converting its stockpiles of 20 percent enriched uranium, the United States will unfreeze $2.8 billion of Iranian assets.  But sanctions against Iran remain in place.  

For now the commitment to negotiations is being welcomed on both sides, says Iran sanctions and trade expert Nigel Kushner of W Legal.

“I have got a number of clients who are desperate to jump back into the very profitable business relationships they had hitherto in Iran," said Kushner. "And my message to them today is, ‘You can not re-conduct business.  But certainly by all means get on with your marketing.  Fly over, conduct meetings; discuss deals you might be able to do - in a legitimate manner of course - once the sanctions are lifted.’”

Western powers and Iran have yet to decide when and where the next rounds of talks will take place - saying only they would happen in the coming weeks.   

 

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More