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Iran converting some higher-grade enriched uranium to fuel-official

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 12 Feb 2013 09:17 GMT
Author: Reuters
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DUBAI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Iran is converting some of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

"This work is being done and all its reports have been sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a complete manner," Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying on Tuesday by state news agency IRNA.

He was responding to a question on news reports that Iran has converted some of its 20-percent-enriched uranium into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, IRNA said.

Diplomats accredited to the IAEA in Vienna told Reuters that Iran had apparently resumed converting into fuel small amounts of higher-grade enriched uranium - a process which if expanded could buy time for negotiations between Washington and Tehran on its disputed nuclear programme.

The possibility of Iran converting enriched uranium into fuel - slowing a growth in stockpiles of material that could be used to make weapons - is one possible way in which the nuclear dispute between Iran and the West could avoid hitting a crisis by the summer.

Tehran could otherwise have amassed sufficient stock by June to hit a "red line" set by Israel after which it has indicated it could attack to prevent Iran acquiring enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. (Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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