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

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs