Sat Feb 25, 2017 02:45PM
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi

Iran's nuclear chief says the Islamic Republic has requested to buy 950 tonnes of concentrated uranium, also known as yellowcake, from Kazakhstan over the next three years.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi told ISNA on Saturday that the request has been made to the joint commission tasked with monitoring the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“This agreement will be implemented within three years and some 650 tonnes will enter the country directly in two consignments over two years,” he added.

The AEOI chief said the remaining 300 tonnes, which would enter Iran in the third year, would be turned into uranium hexafluoride (UF6) and sold back to Kazakhstan.

He said that five members of the P5+1 group have given their written approval, adding that the Islamic Republic was waiting for final answer from the UK.

Salehi also said that Iran has made requests to buy yellowcake from different countries and noted that the last batch of some 149 tonnes of yellowcake that Iran had bought from Russia entered the country two weeks ago.

That brought Iran’s yellowcake reserves imported to the country over the past year to 382 tonnes, he explained.

Asghar Zare'an, special assistant to the AEOI head, said on February 7 that Iran had received the final consignment of a 149-tonne shipment of uranium from Russia as part of the JCPOA.

The file photo shows an Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China - plus Germany signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the nuclear agreement, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

The deal does not set limits on Iran’s supplies of uranium ore.

In its latest quarterly report on Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) once again confirmed that Iran has lived up to its commitments under the landmark nuclear agreement.

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The AEOI said on January 28 that Iran had started injecting UF6 into IR-8 centrifuge machines in an important phase of the country’s research and development plans.

Iran has successfully conducted all mechanical tests of the machines over the past three years, the AEOI said, adding that the IR-8 machines have the capacity to enrich uranium some 20 times faster than the IR-1 ones.

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