Iran, Turkey, and Brazil Reach Nuclear Fuel Agreement

May 17, 2010

Publication Type: 

  • Policy Briefs

Related Country: 

  • Brazil
  • Turkey

On May 17, 2010, Iran, Turkey and Brazil signed a joint declaration agreeing to a nuclear fuel swap that was first proposed to Iran by France, Russia and the United States last fall. Under the new agreement, Iran would export 1,200 kg of its low enriched uranium (LEU) stockpile to Turkey within one month. Iran would then receive 120 kg of uranium fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) within one year. This reactor, which is expected to run out of fuel within two years, is fueled by 20 percent enriched uranium, whereas Iran's uranium stockpile is enriched to 3.5 percent. Iran began producing 20 percent enriched uranium itself in February, and it says it intends to continue this work even if it receives reactor fuel from abroad.

Read reactions and analysis from around the world:

U.S. officials acknowledge the efforts of Turkey and Brazil, but call on Iran to fulfill its international obligations, particularly those concerning a freeze on uranium enrichment: U.S. President Barack Obama and White House Press Secretary, 5-10.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs heralds the joint declaration as an important opportunity to re-start dialogue with Iran, 5-17-10.

U.K. Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt emphasizes that serious concerns remain about Iran's nuclear intentions and enrichment activities, 5-17-10.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses a need to carefully examine the nuclear fuel proposal in light of continued Iranian enrichment, 5-18-10.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the nuclear fuel agreement as a step towards peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue, 5-18-10.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urges Iran to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and states that the nuclear fuel initiative may build international confidence in the Iranian nuclear program, 5-18-10.

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) concludes that the original nuclear fuel deal goals of confidence building and breakout capacity reduction are no longer relevant under this joint declaration because Iran continues to enrich uranium, 5-17-10.

Arms Control Wonk explains that the joint declaration to transfer 1,200 kilograms of LEU is not as effective today as eight months ago because Iran has doubled its LEU stockpile and has declared it will continue to enrich uranium to twenty percent, 5-17-10.