Natanz nuclear facility. Program facing difficulties
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Ahmadinejad and Mugabe. Deal or no deal?
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Report: Iran's uranium supply nearly out

Nuclear experts tell Time Magazine that Islamic Republic's uranium stockpile running low, and, therefore, more efforts must be focused on Iran's attempts to obtain uranium abroad

WASHINGTON – As the United States encounters difficulties pushing sanctions against Iran through the United Nations Security Council, reports of the rogue country's efforts to get its hands on uranium from world sources have increased. The American weekly Time Magazine reported Tuesday that nuclear experts believe Iran's uranium supply is nearly run out.


Time wrote that Iran's uranium stock is 30 years old and harkens back to the 531 tons of yellowcake South Africa sold the country in the early 1980s. Yellowcake is a yellow powder produced from raw uranium and later used to make enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. When such uranium is highly enriched, it can fuel a nuclear bomb.


However, according to the report, American research institute, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), which tracks the Iranian nuclear industry, estimates that the country only has a small amount of uranium left.


"We know that they are short (of uranium) for a nuclear energy program," says David Albright, a former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector in Iraq and president of ISIS. "If you don't have uranium you don't have anything."


Cliff Kupchan, Iran analyst at Eurasia Group in Washington, said in an interview with Time that the world has been so caught up in efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Iran that it has overlooked the country's scramble to secure an alternative source to replenish its uranium stock. Kupchan believes Iran is nearly out of yellowcake.


The weekly magazine wrote that Iran is going to great lengths to obtain uranium in Africa, mainly from Zimbabwe, but is finding it difficult to circumvent existing sanctions that make it difficult to transfer the substance to its territory.


About six months ago, the IAEA leaked an intelligence report that Iran had struck a secret deal to purchase purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, one of the world's largest producers of uranium, for $450 million. However, publication of the report blocked the deal from going through.


Kupchan noted that the US is closely following Iran's moves in order to thwart any uranium deal from going through. US President Barack Obama even met privately with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the beginning of the month in order to prevent any future deal between his country and Iran.


Just this week, British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe agreed in a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to sell uranium to Tehran. Uranium was reported to have been discovered in Zimbabwe in the 1970s.


פרסום ראשון: 04.28.10, 00:32
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