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 Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs