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Iran produces uranium metal in violation of nuke deal — WSJ

The UN’s atomic agency says Iran has produced a small amount of uranium metal at a facility in Isfahan, in a further violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing a confidential IAEA report.

Uranium metal can be used as a component in nuclear weapons.

Iran had signed up to a 15-year ban on “producing or acquiring plutonium or uranium metals or their alloys” under the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015 with world powers.

Iran previously told the UN nuclear watchdog that it was advancing research on uranium metal production, saying it is aimed at providing advanced fuel for a research reactor in Tehran.

In a joint statement last month, European foreign ministers warned there was no civilian use for the material.

“The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications,” said the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, the so-called E3, said.

Violating the 2015 nuclear accords, Iran has started producing uranium metal, which can be used to form the core of nuclear weapons, the IAEA said, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reportedly said Iran had produced a small amount of the metal two days ago, after importing new equipment into a nuclear facility that is under IAEA inspection at Isfahan.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, warned the West that his country could push for a nuclear weapon if the international sanctions on Tehran remain in place, The Associated Press reported.

“Our nuclear program is peaceful and the fatwa by the Supreme Leader has forbidden nuclear weapons, but if they push Iran in that direction, then it wouldn’t be Iran’s fault but those who pushed it,” Alavi was quoted as saying, referring a 1990s religious edict issued by the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which states that nuclear weapons are forbidden.

“If a cat is cornered, it may show a kind of behavior that a free cat would not,” he warned, adding that Iran has no plans to move toward a nuclear weapon under current circumstances.

Source: TOI, Arutz Sheva and Agencies