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Iran converting some higher-grade enriched uranium to fuel

World News – 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.

In other news, Iran hopes for positive steps at talks on its nuclear programme with world powers in Kazakhstan this month Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Tuesday.

He was speaking during a visit to Russia, one of the six powers that will be represented at talks with Iranian negotiators on Feb 26 in the Kazakh city of Almaty.

The six powers – Russia, the United States, France, Germany, China and Britain – want to prevent Tehran developing atomic weapons. Iran says its nuclear programme is entirely for peaceful purposes.

“We are counting on there being positive and constructive steps made to resolve this problem at the upcoming meeting at the end of February,” Salehi said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that the world powers were ready to respond if Iran comes to the talks prepared to discuss “real substance” and address questions about its nuclear programme. Reuters

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