Iran asks watchdog not to publish ‘unnecessary’ nuke details

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Hassan Rouhani, Rafael Mariano Grossi

FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2020 file photo, released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani, right, welcomes Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi for their meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iran urged the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to avoid publishing “unnecessary” details on Tehran’s nuclear program, state TV reported Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, a day after Germany, France and Britain said Tehran has “no credible civilian use” for its development of uranium metal. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP, File)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran urged the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to avoid publishing “unnecessary” details on Tehran’s nuclear program, state TV reported Sunday, a day after Germany, France and Britain said Tehran has “no credible civilian use” for its development of uranium metal.

The report quoted a statement from Iran’s nuclear department that asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid publishing details on Iran’s nuclear program that may cause confusion.

“It is expected the international atomic energy agency avoid providing unnecessary details and prevent paving ground for misunderstanding” in the international community, the statement said. It did not elaborate.

On Saturday, Germany, France and Britain pressed Iran to back off its plan to develop uranium metal, calling it “the latest planned violation” of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The goal of the deal is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something Iran insists it does not want to do.

“Iran has no credible civilian use for uranium metal,” they said in a joint statement. “The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications.”

On Thursday, the IAEA said Iran had informed it that it had begun installing equipment for the production of uranium metal. It said Tehran maintains its plans to conduct research and development on uranium metal production are part of its “declared aim to design an improved type of fuel.”

Tehran has long suspected that result of the inspections by the agency have leaked and caused further problems for Iran.

In December the country’s parliament passed a law that would suspend part of snap inspections the nuclear deal provided to inspectors in late February should the U.S. banking and oil sanctions remain in place. The country, though, said that the other usual inspections will continue since the nation is a member of non-proliferation treaty.

Iran reacted to the European statement Sunday saying Iran informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog nearly two decades ago of its plans for the “peaceful and conventional” production of uranium metal. It also said it provided updated information to the agency two years ago about its plans to produce silicide advanced fuel.

The statement said uranium metal is an “intermediate product” in the manufacture of uranium silicide, a fuel used in nuclear reactors that is safer and has more power capability than uranium oxide-based fuel, which Iran currently produces.

Later on Sunday Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a tweet criticized the Europeans for their failure in saving the nuclear deal, or JCPOA, after the U.S. withdrawal and said the deal remain alive because Iran did not withdraw from it.

“JCPOA is alive because of Iran and not E3,” said Zarif in the Tweet. He also criticized Europe’s dependence on approval of every single banking transaction with Iran by the U.S. treasury.

The three European nations alongside the U.S., Russia and China signed the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that prohibited research and production of uranium metal.

President Donald Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from Iran’s nuclear deal, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. After the U.S. then ramped up sanctions, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.

President-elect Joe Biden, who was vice president when the deal was signed during the Obama administration, has said he hopes to return the U.S. to the deal.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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