Iran Agrees to Export Uranium

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has tentatively agreed to ship 75 percent, or 2,600 pounds, of its low-enriched uranium to Russia for conversion to medical use uranium. The United States, France, Iran and Russia must finalize the deal by Friday.

The agreement, which was reached today at the end of two-and-a-half-day nuclear talks in Vienna, did not include a provision for the timing of the shipments. That's because senior officials in Tehran were not at the talks, and must review and approve the deal, the New York Times reported.

“We have to thoroughly study this text,” said Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's representative in Vienna.

If Iran does sign off on the deal, the uranium would be further enriched in Russia and then shipped back to Tehran for use in a reactor that serves medical purposes, according to the Times. The Obama administration would also feel on firmer footing when negotiating with Iran on other issues.

"Everybody is aware (this) transaction is a very important confidence-building measure that can defuse a crisis going on for a number of years, and open space for (further) negotiations," Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Reuters.

For more on the Vienna nuclear talks, check out a conversation between New York Times chief Washington correspondent David Sanger and WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon on this week's Washington Report.

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