Friday, April 22, 2016
More Deals with the Devil? U,S. to Buy 32 Tons of Nuclear Material from Iran, State Department Announces
Deal to purchase heavy water from Tehran aims to protect broad accord reached in July
WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is buying 32 tons of heavy water, a key component in atomic-weapons development, from Iran in an effort to safeguard its landmark nuclear agreement with the country, according to senior American officials.
The Department of Energy’s impending purchase was driven by U.S. concerns that Iran doesn’t have the capacity yet to quickly reduce its stockpile of the material as required under the July nuclear deal, according to these officials.
Under the accord, Iran must keep its load of heavy water to below 130 tons during the initial years of the deal, and under 90 tons later. But U.S. officials said Iran has been struggling to find buyers for the material on the international market and that its stockpile is at risk of rising above that level.
The U.S. hopes its initial purchase will give other countries the confidence to purchase Iran’s heavy water in the coming years.
The deal, estimated at $8.6 million, is expected to be formally signed by U.S. and Iranian officials Friday morning in Vienna.