The US media have reported that the administration of President Barack Obama is moving to finalize a deal with Iran worth $8.6 million to buy heavy water from Iran.
“We are still in the process of executing that first transaction,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Wednesday at a policy forum hosted by Politico in Washington.
“We would facilitate a first purchase, and a first purchase only,” Moniz added, as quoted by the Washington Examiner.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi said in April that Iran under a deal with the US will sell 32 metric tons of heavy water to the country – what was seen as a major step in the commercialization of Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Other officials have emphasized that the material will be provided to commercial and research entities, including a national lab, inside the US.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said last August that Iran will begin to commercialize its nuclear technology after the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“We will import yellow cake from abroad and we will export enriched UF6,” President Rouhani told reporters.
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany – agreed over the JCPOA last July. Based on it, Iran will restrict certain aspects of its nuclear energy activities in return for the removal of certain economic sanctions imposed against the country.
The JCPOA gives Iran the right to sell, dilute or dispose of the heavy water it has produced under certain conditions.
It also allows Iran to sell its enriched uranium material – called UF6 – and to buy natural uranium or “yellow cake” in return.
Russia announced in April that it is considering buying metric 40 tons of heavy water from Iran in what could make Moscow the second customer of the nuclear material from Iran after Washington.