Iran adhering to nuclear freeze, watchdog says | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 17.04.2014
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Middle East

Iran adhering to nuclear freeze, watchdog says

Iran is complying with an interim agreement freezing parts of its nuclear activities, the UN's chemical watchdog says. Last year's temporary deal came in return for mild sanctions relief.

A confidential report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by news agency AP, showed overall satisfaction with Iran's progress. It said Tehran had diluted most of a nuclear stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium.

This now leaves Iran with much less of enriched uranium that could be used to create a nuclear weapon, in which Tehran has consistently denied having an interest.

Under last November's interim agreement with six world powers, Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium to grades beyond 5 percent. It also agreed to neutralize its 20 percent stockpile, the minimum level of enrichment with which it is theoretically possible to create a nuclear bomb. Most warheads contain uranium enriched to at least 85 percent.

Iran has until July to fulfil its commitments under the November deal. It will meet with the six world powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US - in May to draw up a permanent agreement that would place long-term caps on Iran's enrichment program and other atomic activities.

At the last gathering, earlier this month, chief negotiator and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the next talks would reach an intensive phase.

The international goal is to ensure that the Iranian nuclear program is for civilian purposes only, with the removal of longstanding sanctions against Tehran on the table as a potential reward.

Diplomats on Thursday told news agency AFP that everything was in order with Iran's progress under the temporary agreement.

jr/msh (AP, AFP)

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