Iran's heavy water stock exceeds authorised limit: IAEA

The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria March 4, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 19 November 2019

Iran's heavy water stock exceeds authorised limit: IAEA

  • Iran's heavy water production plant was above the 130-tonne limit

VIENNA: The UN's nuclear watchdog said Monday that Iran's stock of heavy water for reactors has surpassed the limit set under its agreement with world powers.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that Iran's heavy water production plant was in operation and that its stock of heavy water reserves was 131.5 tonnes, above the 130-tonne limit.
In Vienna, an IAEA spokesperson said: "On 17 November, the Agency verified that the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) was in operation and that Iran's stock of heavy water was 131.5 metric tonnes."
Heavy water is not itself radioactive but is used in nuclear reactors to absorb neutrons from nuclear fission.
Heavy water reactors can be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons as an alternative to enriched uranium.
It was the first time the agency has recorded a volume greater than the level agreed upon as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached in 2015 with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States and the European Union.
The US unilaterally withdrew from it last year, after which Iran began reducing its commitments in a bid to win concessions from those still party to the accord.
In Washington Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will lift sanctions waivers on Iran's Fordow nuclear plant, citing the resumption of uranium enrichment activities at the site already announced by Tehran.
"The United States will terminate the sanctions waiver related to the nuclear facility at Fordow effective December 15, 2019," Pompeo told a news conference.
Earlier this month, the IAEA said that uranium particles had been detected at an undeclared site in Iran.
The report also confirmed that Iran has ramped up uranium enrichment in breach of the 2015 deal, feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into previously mothballed enrichment centrifuges at Fordow, an underground plant south of Tehran.
That allows for the production of the most fissile isotope, Uranium 235.
Since September, Iran has also been producing enriched uranium at a facility in Natanz.
It has exceeded a 300 kilogramme limit on stocks of enriched uranium and has breached a uranium enrichment cap of 3.67 percent.
Iran has always insisted that its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful and that acquiring nuclear weapons would be contrary to Islamic principles.


SALT Abu Dhabi: Where finance, technology, geopolitics meet

Updated 09 December 2019

SALT Abu Dhabi: Where finance, technology, geopolitics meet

  • Conference run by ex-White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci comes to the Middle East
  • Platform aims to arrange conversations that can create greater cross-cultural understanding

DUBAI: The first Middle East SALT conference — the global thought leadership platform run by former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci — kicks off in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Some 1,000 leaders from the worlds of investment, finance and policymaking will gather at the city’s financial hub, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), for the two-day event, billed as a “Davos style” forum intended to “foster collaboration at the intersection of finance, technology and geopolitics.”
Scaramucci, who launched the event in 2009 under the auspices of his investment business Skybridge Alternatives, told Arab News that there will be a “phenomenal group of people” at the event, which combines onstage presentations, one-to-one “bilaterals” and networking for some of the leading business and technology thinkers in the world.
“It’s through conversations like these that we can create greater cross-cultural understanding and begin to solve the world’s most pressing problems,” he said.
The big annual meeting is held in Last Vegas each year, but spin-off events have been held in Tokyo and Singapore.
The event will have a strongly regional flavor, with Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, being joined by ADGM Chairman Ahmed Al-Sayegh and Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, managing director and group CEO of the Mubadala Investment Co., both of the UAE.
Al-Sayegh said: “The UAE’s robust economic environment, comprehensive industry offerings and sound political stability continue to uphold the nation’s stature as one of the most preferred investment destinations in the world.”
He added: “The SALT Abu Dhabi conference opens up a new window for global businesses and policymakers to gain new insights of what Abu Dhabi and the UAE have to offer now and in the long term.”
Among the foreign thought leaders attending the event are Gen. John F Kelly, former White House chief of staff, and Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy.
“The future of US-Arab relations” will be the topic of a panel discussion on Monday. The session, to be moderated by Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas, will feature Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations; Norman Roule, CEO of Pharos Strategic Consulting LLC; and Dania Koleilat Khatib, affiliated scholar at the Issam Fares Institute.
On the same day, another panel discussion — featuring Renzi and Phillip Hammond, former chancellor of the British Exchequer, and moderated by Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator at the Financial Times — will address “the future of Europe.”
The delegates will be keen to hear Scaramucci’s latest view on the political situation in the US.
He has been one of the fiercest critics of the presidency of Donald Trump, and is leading a campaign to persuade other members of the Republican Party to choose another contender for next year’s presidential election.
“Given his rank lawlessness and criminal activity, the lack of resistance in the Republican Party to him tells you a lot about the hypocrisy in America today,” Scaramucci said.
“He has clearly broken the law, but he has a group of sycophants and acolytes who won’t condemn what he’s doing,” he added.
“I just think he’s the wrong leader for the US. Our system is supposed to ensure that everyone is subject to the law. The president is supposed to serve, not rule. I think the guy is a traitor.”