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Iran Says It Will Resume Research on Nuclear Fuel Cycle in Days

Nuclear plant in Iran
Bloomberg – Iran will resume research on the nuclear fuel cycle in the “next few days,” the deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said, without specifying which type of research was involved.

The research will be conducted “with the cooperation and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Mohammad Saidi said in a breaking news session on Iranian state television. He made a distinction between research and production, saying that “no decision” had been made about “nuclear fuel production.”

Tensions between Iran and the West have escalated since August, when the Middle East’s No. 2 oil producer said it was resuming uranium conversion. Uranium conversion is the second step in mastering the nuclear fuel cycle, which includes mining, conversion, enrichment and reprocessing.

Iran, which is under threat of United Nations sanctions over its atomic program, says it’s pursuing nuclear technology solely for civilian use while the U.S. is concerned that Iran may be seeking to make weapons. Fuel enrichment, which uses a feed gas obtained through uranium conversion, can potentially be diverted to production of weapons-grade uranium.

Today’s decision comes less than two weeks after talks between Iran and the European Union — represented by France, Germany and the U.K. — resume in Vienna. A new session is due later this month.

The IAEA and its director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, won last year’s Nobel Peace prize for their work to prevent the military use of nuclear energy, the Oslo-based Nobel Committee said in December.