Early reports today that the Iranian government had suspended all 20 percent uranium enrichment as a show of “goodwill” ahead of the next round of talks with the P5+1 have turned out to be false, and were based on a misquote of Iranian MP Mohammad Hassad Asafari.
The reports emerged overnight from Al-Arabiya, which cited a quote from Asafari making the claim to the ISNA news agency. Asafari, a top member of Iran’s foreign policy committee, explained what happened in several Iranian media outlets.
In comments to PressTV, Asafari maintained that the report was based on comments saying that Iran is “ready to temporarily supply its need for 20%-enriched uranium for its 5-megawatt Tehran Reactor from abroad if the sanctions are lifted.”
This is roughly in line with what other officials have said in the past few months. The aging US-built Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) supplies medical isotopes for Iran, and relies on 20% enriched uranium fuel rods. Though Iran has been able to enrich to this level its ability to reliably produce the rods is still in doubt, and it has been eager on several occasions to trade uranium for the rods outright. The bulk of Iran’s enrichment is at a much lower level needed for fueling the Bushehr nuclear reactor, a newer Russian-built model that supplies electricity.