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November 23, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2629

Iranian Nuclear Official: We Can't Even Use the Uranium We Have – So Why Are We Rejecting the Vienna Draft Proposal?

November 23, 2009
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 2629

In an interview with the Iranian news agency ILNA, Ahmad Qarib, Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Scientific Committee member and former director of the organization's research institute, criticized Iran's rejection of the Vienna draft proposal under which Iran would transfer 75% of its stock of enriched uranium (its total stock is estimated at 1,600 kg) for further enrichment in a third country, so that Iran will have a supply of fuel for its Tehran nuclear reactor.

Qarib stated that because Iran does not have an infrastructure of nuclear plants that would require such a stock of enriched uranium for operation, the country really has no reason to reject the Vienna proposal. He also pointed out that the Tehran facility is not expected to operate efficiently for longer than another 10 years.

Qarib explained: "Iran has no reactor besides the Tehran research reactor and the Bushehr plant [which is not yet operational]. All this fuss [by Iran] over fuel for them comes at a time when the Bushehr [plant] is not yet finished; and even if it is completed, Russia will supply the fuel that it requires. In effect, right now we don't need all of the 1,600 kg of uranium that we now have..."

He added that "in the era of the Mir Hossein Mousavi [government, 1981-1989], Iran purchased 680 tons of uranium, and so far has used only 12 tons of that, as fuel for the research reactor in Tehran. Over 660 tons remain - and our enrichment process [at the Natanz facility] is ongoing."

He continued, "So it is not clear why this issue has become so complex, [when] the Tehran research reactor will be operating [efficiently] for no more than another decade [and then will have to be shut down]; [in any event,] it does not need all that fuel." [1]

Endnote:

[1] ILNA (Iran), October 26, 2009.

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