Iran has dispensed about one-third of its highly enriched uranium supply for ‘peaceful medical research’, according to the latest report from UN’s nuclear watchdog.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Saturday that Tehran has diverted 20% of its enriched uranium to manufacture fuel rods for research for potential cancer treatment. Iran claims it converted 20% of enriched uranium into uranium oxide or U308 for its medical research reactor, which can produce isotopes for cancer treatment, Fars News Agency reports. “Once converted into U308, it’s not usable for producing bomb grade uranium and of little proliferation concern,” Rasoul Sediqi Bonabi, an Iranian nuclear scientist and professor at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, told AP.
The move was lauded by the IAEA as a “confidence-building measure” in pursuing protracted talks between Western nations and Iran.
The US and its western allies condemned Iran’s uranium enrichment, fearing it could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction. Tehran came under a series of sanctions imposed by the west to pressure it out of its nuclear ambitions, which it claims is merely for peaceful civilian purposes. Renewing talks could help ease economic sanctions that have been strangling the Iranian economy.