With Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant scheduled to begin operation sometime this year, the nation’s ongoing enrichment program is running low on its supplies of raw uranium, which the gas-graphite reactor requires to be enriched to low levels to use.
The Times is reporting that Iran is scrambling to import more raw uranium, and diplomats from Britain, the US, France and Germany are starting a massive campaign to discourage major uranium producers from selling uranium to Iran.
Iran does have some domestic uranium production, but its ambition to expand its nascent nuclear power program to include several facilities would require it to import considerable raw uranium. The nation also has interests in some international uranium mines, but diplomatic efforts have likewise prevented them from importing uranium from those mines.
The United States and several other nations have speculated that Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment program might hypothetically be used at some future date to produce atomic weapons. The IAEA has repeatedly certified that none of the uranium enriched in Iran for the Bushehr facility has been diverted to any other use, and the level of enrichment presently conducted falls far short of being usable in a bomb.