Tehran / Moscow – Iran has initiated steps to expedite its nuclear program to counter the harsh sanctions imposed by the United States. Iran has announced to bring back the enriched uranium stockpile it had handed over to Russia. The Israeli media has criticized the act of taking back the enriched uranium stockpile from Russia and called the restarting of the nuclear program a violation of the nuclear deal that has been kept alive by the European countries. However, Iran has put the onus of its action on the United States.
Although the United States had abandoned the Iran nuclear deal, Russian and the European countries have guaranteed their continued participation in it. Moreover, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and China had assured Iran to not discard the nuclear deal even though the United States had withdrawn. However, Iran has shocked its supporting countries with the announcement of acquiring the enriched uranium stockpile committed to Russia under the said nuclear deal.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, the Deputy Head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) has announced that the stock of uranium kept with Russia, which has been enriched to a level of more than 20%, will be brought back to Iran. Kamalvandi blamed the United States for the decision saying, “If the nuclear deal remains alive, the other sides should sell us the fuel and if the nuclear deal dies, then we would feel unimpeded to produce the 20%-fuel ourselves.”
Last week, the US President Donald Trump had announced fresh and tougher sanctions against Iran. As per the sanctions, there are restrictions imposed on the trade relations between Iran and Russia, China as well as the European allies. The United States has also imposed sanctions against any trade with Iran in exchange for US Dollar or gold. The already crippled Iranian economy has further been cornered because of the new sanctions.
Kamalvandi, while speaking to an Iranian news agency informed that to counter the effects of the sanctions, Iran has started to bring back the stockpile of enriched uranium kept in Russia. As per the nuclear deal signed in 2015, it was obligatory on Iran to hand over the uranium which was enriched to a level of more than 20% to Russia. Iran had complied by pledging a stock of 300 kilograms of enriched uranium with Russia. But now Iran has initiated the process to bring this stock back home and will receive the second batch soon, said Kamalvandi.
Meanwhile, the Israeli media and analysts claim Iran to own 9 tonnes of low-enriched Uranium which it says is being used for power generation. However, Israel has accused that if this uranium is enriched further, it could be used to produce nuclear weapons. Moreover, the Israeli media has criticised Iran for violating the nuclear deal kept alive by the European nations by obtaining the high-grade enriched uranium from Russia.