Iran is Assembling Gear Able to Produce Key Nuclear-Weapons Material

January 13, 2021


Laurence Norman and Michael R. Gordon


The Wall Street Journal

Iran has begun manufacturing equipment that will be used to produce uranium metal in the coming months, according to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The material will be used to make fuel for a research reactor in Tehran, according to Iran's ambassador to the IAEA. Because of its nuclear weapon applications, Iran agreed not to pursue uranium and plutonium metallurgy for 15 years under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The agreement allowed Iran to work on advanced fuel for research reactors after ten years. The uranium metal production line is expected to be located at a site in Isfahan, near the Uranium Conversion Facility. According to Western officials, the work is being done by Sureh, a subsidiary of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) that is currently under U.S. sanction and was previously sanctioned by the European Union. In December, the Iranian Parliament called on the government to start producing uranium metal within five months if the United States does not lift economic sanctions.