Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Iran Keeps Cap on Bomb-Sensitive Uranium Stocks: Envoys
Envoys on Monday said Iran is still converting enough of its uranium supply into peaceful, medical reactor material to avoid crossing a "red line" established by Israel that could trigger military action, Reuters reported on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last fall said Iran was on track to generate the quantity of 20 percent-enriched uranium that would put it close to nuclear weapons capability by the middle of 2013. Tehran has avoided accumulating the 529-551 pounds needed for a weapon by converting some material for use in a medical research reactor. The Persian Gulf regional power insists its atomic efforts are strictly peaceful.
Nuclear expert Mark Hibbs, though, said Tehran would need only "a few weeks" to change all of its uranium oxide medical reactor fuel to a form suitable for further enrichment. Bomb-grade uranium is around 90 percent purity.
Specialists said the International Atomic Energy Agency would track any move to return the uranium oxide to its prior state, barring a possible clandestine effort by Tehran. Hibbs said a declared reconversion plan would "immediately precipitate a crisis."
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