Iran says research on uranium matal-based fuel has started - Twitter

DUBAI, Jan 13 (Reuters) — Iran began its U.N. study on fuel dependent on uranium in its Tehran research reactor.

Atomic watchdog said in the latest abuse of a 2015 nuclear pact by the Islamic Republic with six key powers on Wednesday.

"R&D activities related to the design of an improved type of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor started. Natural uranium will be used to produce uranium metal in the first stage,"

He added that Iran provided the International Atomic Energy Agency with design details on its research.

The department had carried out an investigation, he added.

In fact, the 2015 agreement bans 'R&D on plutonium or uranium metallurgy.'

It says that if, after the agreement has been in effect for a decade, Iran will then request permission from the other parties to the deal to start researching uranium metal fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Uranium metal is a sensitive topic since it may theoretically be used in nuclear bombs.

The IAEA is looking at its future use by Iran in the past even before the nuclear agreement has been reached.

Iran insists that it has never tried and never sought nuclear weapons.

In December, the hardline parliament of Iran passed a law pressuring the government to strengthen its nuclear status, including the launch of the metallic uranium factory in Isfahan within the five months.

It also states that if the U.S. penalties are not alleviated by 21 February, Tehran will speed up its uranium enrichment and terminate the IAEA's extensive nuclear monitoring forces, restricting only declared nuclear sites.

In a move that could complicate US efforts.

President-elect Joe Biden to reenter the Pact, Iran resumed enriching uranium at its underground nuclear plant Fordow by 20 percent fissile power earlier this month.

In 2019 Tehran began breaking the 2015 Agreement in a step-by-step reaction to the 2018 pull-out of President Donald Trump and its re-imposition of U.S. sanctions that were discontinued under the settlement.

(Francois Murphy's additional study in Vienna Writing by Parisa Hafezi, William Maclean's editing)