Report: Iran converting enriched uranium to reactor fuel

(JTA) — Iran said it is converting some of its enriched uranium to reactor fuel.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed Tuesday that some uranium enriched to 20 percent purity was being converted into fuel for a research nuclear reactor in Tehran, The New York Times reported, citing the Iranian state news agency IRNA.

Details of the work were sent to the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to the spokesman.

The conversion of the uranium means some depletion of Iran’s stockpile of uranium that is approaching an enrichment suitable for a nuclear weapon.

IAEA deputy director Herman Nackaerts is scheduled to meet in Tehran with Iranian officials on Wednesday. Iranian negotiators will meet later this month in Kazhakhstan with representatives of the world powers for multilateral talks over making Iran’s nuclear program more transparent.

The Iranian spokesman also said Tuesday that the IAEA’s request to inspect the Parchin military base could be honored if the agency agrees to acknowledge the Islamic Republic’s right to have a nuclear program.

The IAEA has been trying to inspect the Parchin base for the last year. Satellite photos of the site near Tehran indicate that it has been used for nuclear weapons experiments. Other satellite photos show that it has since been sterilized, making it difficult to detect the kind of nuclear experiments that took place. 

Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for domestic, peaceful purposes. Western powers believe Iran is preparing to build nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, North Korea on Tuesday said it had successfully detonated a miniaturized nuclear device at a northeastern test site.

In a response to the news, Iran’s spokesman said, "We need to come to the point where no country has any nuclear weapons, and at the same time all weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms need to be destroyed. At the same time, all countries should have the right to make use of nuclear activities for peaceful purposes."

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