On January 12, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) confirmed that Tehran will soon receive a shipment of 130 tons of natural uranium that it has purchased from Russia.
In an interview with the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), AEOI’s Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi claimed that all members of the Joint Commission had agreed to Iran’s import of natural uranium from Russia. The so-called Joint Commission is a group comprised of representative of Iran and world powers tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the nuclear agreement that Iran signed with the United States and five other world powers in July 2015.
Kamalvandi also warned the United States that if it implemented the Iran Extension Act, Tehran would consider it a violation of the JCPOA and that the “circumstances will change” – without providing further details. The AEOI’s spokesman also confirmed that Iran had previously imported 220 tons of natural uranium from Russia, and that the country now possessed a total of 350 tons of natural uranium.
Although Iran claims it is not interested in nuclear weapons, US lawmakers and senior members of the incoming Trump administration are concerned that the JCPOA will not keep Iran’s nuclear program peaceful and risk-free in the long term. Iran’s import of vast amount of uranium from Russia will therefore add to their worries. This is because natural uranium, if enriched to high levels, can be used for a nuclear weapon. Iran has not declared whether it will use the new shipment for energy purposes or will store it.
In an interview with Sputnik Persian, a Russian outlet, Iranian political analyst Mojtaba Jalalzadeh said: "This [uranium agreement] is another transparent and clear message to US authorities that the other signatories of the nuclear deal are not going to support Washington's unilateral sanctions anymore."