A diplomat denied reports that a clean-up plan at the Natanz facility will bring Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium below a cap mentioned in a nuclear agreement with world powers, saying residue from the process will be exempted from the 300-kg limit on Iran’s enriched uranium.
In comments on Tuesday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi rejected a report by The Wall Street Journal that Iran has agreed after discussions with the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) to push its stockpile of enriched uranium far below the 300-kilogram cap fixed in a 2015 nuclear agreement.
The report claimed that Iran has agreed to a plan that would see the mothballed Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran cleaned out, with the enriched uranium flushed out of the pipes and degraded. It has also estimated the enriched uranium stuck in the pipes and machinery at the plant at 100 kilograms when the nuclear deal was reached in 2015.
The WSJ has also announced that after flushing out all the enriched uranium, Iran’s stockpile of the material would likely fall under 200 kilograms.
However, Araqchi made it clear on Tuesday that the enriched material flushed out of the pipes after the clean-up plan will be exempted from the 300-kg limit on the enriched uranium stockpile, stressing that as a result, Iran will be able to enrich more material.
He also underlined that the new measure passed by the JCPOA Joint Commission – a group tasked with monitoring commitments to the nuclear deal – was a result of months of expert talks, saying Iran’s Foreign Ministry will release a Persian translation of the decision on its website soon.
Representatives from Iran, the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) and the European Union gathered in Vienna’s Palais Coburg hotel on Tuesday to address Iran’s complaint about a US congressional bill extending Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for ten years.
According to reports, the parties in the Tuesday talks have also agreed to allow the export of natural uranium from Russia to Iran.