Photo Credit: US Photonics Inc. / US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Gas Centrifuges used to enrich uranium, 1984 (illustrative)

The governments of the United Kingdom, France and Germany expressed “deep concern” in a joint statement this weekend that Iran appears to have begun producing a new, improved type of uranium metal fuel for its Tehran Research Reactor.

The Israeli government has been warning world powers for years — and has produced evidence to support the claims — that Iran is working towards the development of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

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“We, the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom (known as the E3 -ed.) are deeply concerned by Iran’s announcement that it is preparing to produce uranium metal.”

“Iran has no credible civilian use for uranium metal. The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), Iran committed to not engaging in production of uranium metal or conducting research and development on uranium metallurgy for 15 years.

“We strongly urge Iran to halt this activity and return to compliance with its JCPoA commitments without further delay if it is serious about preserving the deal,” the statement concluded.

Last Wednesday Iran told the UN International Atomic Energy Agency that it was advancing research on uranium metal production, adding that it was aimed at providing advanced fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Iran Begins Production of Uranium Metal Fuel for New Reactor
According to the deal signed in 2015 by Iran with the United States and five other world powers, there is a 15-year ban on the production or acquisition of uranium metal by Iran, because uranium metal can be used as fuel in the core of a nuclear bomb to fit into a missile warhead.

The IAEA’s confidential report to member states, obtained at the time by Reuters, said Iran indicated it plans to produce uranium metal from natural uranium and then produce uranium metal enriched up to 20 percent for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

There is no known civilian use for materials produced in such a manner.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.