Monday, January 20, 2014

Iran suspends 20% uranium enrichment

Iran says it has stopped the production of 20-percent enriched uranium in line with an initial agreement on limiting the country's nuclear program.

According to Iran's state-run media, the country's atomic energy organization suspended enrichment up to that level at noon on Monday. Uranium enriched to 20 percent could be used in nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency informed its member nations that it confirmed the halt of the enrichment. The report also said Iran has begun diluting its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium.

The IAEA inspectors are already in Iran to verify the suspension.

Iran agreed with 6 world powers in November to scale back its uranium enrichment activities in return for a limited easing of international sanctions.

With the confirmation of Iran's enrichment, the world powers will ease the sanctions they have imposed on Iran.

The initial agreement, seen as a trust-building step, is to be implemented for a period of 6 months, through late July.

The 2 sides plan to begin fresh negotiations with the aim of reaching a final agreement on resolving the deadlock over Iran's nuclear program by the end of the year.