Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says the recent exchange of nuclear fuel with Russia was “very profitable.”
The exchange was a significant move through which “the Islamic Republic was able to acquire international recognition for [uranium] enrichment” and “offer its enriched uranium on international markets,” Salehi said on Wednesday.
Last December, the AEOI announced that Iran had received 220 tonnes of natural uranium or “yellowcake” from Russia in exchange for 11 tonnes of low-enriched uranium.
The exchange was a key step in fulfilling Tehran’s commitments under a landmark nuclear agreement clinched between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries.
The P5+1 refers to the US, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany.
Under the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to restrict certain aspects of its nuclear energy activities in return for the removal of sanctions.
Salehi said Iran had three options in terms of reducing its stockpile of enriched uranium, as required by the JCPOA.
“We could either dilute it, which was meaningless, or sell it – and the other option was to turn it into the required fuel for the Bushehr” nuclear plant, he said.
The Bushehr plant is Iran’s first nuclear power generation facility in operation. The country plans to build a a fuel complex for the facility, which Salehi foresaw to take two years to complete.
“A number of countries have expressed readiness to cooperate in this regard, which is another opportunity provided through the JCPOA where we can use other countries’ experiences.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian nuclear official touched on possible nuclear cooperation between Iran and Spain, saying the issue has not been finalized yet, and “thus details cannot be revealed at this point.”