Iran agrees to suspend nuclear programme

Pending a final settlement with the EU, Iran has
agreed to suspend most of its uranium enrichment activities in
exchange for increased co-operation in trade and
energy.

Following years of negotiations with the EU-3
[Britain, France and Germany], Iran has agreed to
temporarily suspend “nearly all” activities
related to its uranium enrichment programme in an attempt
to protect itself from possible economic sanctions from
the UN Security Council. The EU as well as the US have
long been at odds with Tehran over what the former
believe is a covert nuclear weapons programme. Iran
has formally announced its decision in a letter to
the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA).

Should inspectors of the IAEA confirm the Iranian
freeze, the nuclear watchdog agency’s 35-country
governing board would probably refrain from initiating
sanctions at its next scheduled meeting on 25 November.
However, Washington still appears to have suspicions,
believing that Tehran’s aim is to buy time to
complete its nuclear weapons programme.

Upon receiving proof of Tehran’s compliance, the
EU-3 has agreed to negotiate a series of incentives to
Iran, ranging from trade concessions to co-operation in
the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology. Negotiations
are expected to start in mid-December.

Meanwhile, Tehran continues to insist that the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty – of which it is a
member – entitles it to enrich uranium for
peaceful purposes. ”We have accepted the
suspension as a voluntary step and it does not create any
obligations for us,” said a top Iranian official
according to 
Reuters

.

The Iranian uranium enrichment programme converts raw
uranium into uranium tetrafluoride, which is a fissile
material needed for nuclear warheads. 

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