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17 Jan, 2021 13:19

Iran urges UN nuclear watchdog not to share ‘unnecessary’ details about its nuclear program

Iran urges UN nuclear watchdog not to share ‘unnecessary’ details about its nuclear program

Tehran has urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) not to publicize “unnecessary” details about its nuclear program after France, Germany and the UK claimed Iran has “no credible civilian use” for metallic uranium.

Iran's nuclear agency lashed out at the IAEA on Sunday, urging it to abstain from causing “misunderstanding” around the country's nuclear program.

“It is expected the international atomic energy agency avoid providing unnecessary details and prevent paving ground for misunderstanding,” the Iranian agency said.

The statement came in response to allegations levied by France, Germany and the UK – the European signees of the 2015 nuclear deal – that Tehran might be pursuing development of nuclear weaponry. The three countries said they were “deeply concerned” with Iran's plans to produce metallic uranium.

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“Iran has no credible civilian use for uranium metal,” the three nations said in a joint statement. “The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications.”

Iran, for its part, maintains the production of uranium metal serves solely “peaceful and conventional” purposes. The metal is needed as an “intermediate product” to produce uranium silicide – advanced nuclear fuel, Iran's nuclear agency has explained. Compared to uranium oxide-based fuels, the silicide fuel is bore more potent and safer to use in reactors. Moreover, Iran's nuclear authority said it notified the IAEA of its plans to produce uranium metal some two decades ago, providing updated information to the UN watchdog two years ago about silicide production.

The European trio urged Tehran to abandon its plans immediately and stick to the provisions of the 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if it was “serious about preserving the deal.” Among other things, the JCPOA imposed an explicit ban on “the production or acquisition of metals of plutonium or uranium or their alloys” for 15 years.

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The JCPOA has effectively fallen apart after US President Donald Trump unilaterally walked away from it back in 2018, re-imposing old and rolling out new sanctions against Tehran as a part of his “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. While Iran has repeatedly called upon other – first of all, European – signees of the deal to alleviate its economic losses caused by the Trump administration, they failed to achieve virtually any progress besides urging Tehran to stay within the agreement and promising to somehow “save” it.

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