A nuclear fuel deal has been agreed between Iran, Brazil and Turkey – paving the way for a climb down in the hostile rhetoric which was characterisation non-proliferation talks at the UN.
Turkey has agreed to receive enriched Iranian uranium and swap it for fuel rods to power a medical research reactor. The partially enriched uranium (LEU) currently stored in Iran was causing consternation because it could potentially be enriched further for use in nuclear warheads. The fuel rods, on the other hand, will be incapable of doing so.
Here is an extract from the agreement as published by the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations:
Islamic Republic of Iran agrees to deposit 1200 kg LEU in Turkey. While in Turkey this LEU will continue to be the property of Iran. Iran and the IAEA may station observers to monitor the safekeeping of the LEU in Turkey.
Iran will notify the IAEA in writing through official channels of its agreement with the above within seven days following the date of this declaration. Upon the positive response of the Vienna Group (US, Russia, France and the IAEA) further details of the exchange will be elaborated through a written agreement and proper arrangement between Iran and the Vienna Group that specifically committed themselves to deliver 120 kg of fuel needed for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR).
When the Vienna Group declares its commitment to this provision, both sides will implement the agreement in paragraph 6. Iran is prepared to deposit the LEU in Turkey on the basis of the agreement in no later than one month. On the basis of the same agreement the Vienna Group should deliver 120 kg fuel required for the TRR to Iran in no later than one year.
In case the provisions of this Declaration are not respected Turkey, upon the request of Iran, will return swiftly and unconditionally Iran’s LEU to Iran….
Minister of External Relations of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federative Republic of Brazil
The deal will still need support from the major countries of the UN Security Council as it allows for enrichment activity to continue within Iran. The transport of 1200kg of low enriched uranium would remove a significant amount of potential arms material from Iranian territory.