Iran denies report over secret Kazakhstan uranium deal

Iran dismissed a "baseless" report that said it was close to clinching a deal to import purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan to restock its depleted reserves.

Iran denies report over secret Kazakhstan uranium deal

Iran on Wednesday dismissed a "baseless" report that said it was close to clinching a deal to import 1,350 tons (1,372 tonnes) of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan to restock its depleted reserves.

The report by the Associated Press news agency cited an intelligence report by an "unnamed member nation" of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency.

It said Iran was willing to pay $450 million for the uranium and that the clandestine deal, to be sealed with Kazakh state employees acting without the approval of the Kazakh government, could be completed within weeks.

Purified ore, or uranium oxide, known as yellowcake, is processed into a uranium gas, which is then spun and respun to varying degrees of enrichment.

Low enriched uranium is used for nuclear fuel, and upper-end high enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.

"Fabrications"

"Such fabrications of news are part of the psychological warfare (against Iran) to serve the political interests of the hegemonic powers," Iran's representative at the United Nations said in a statement faxed to Reuters.

Kazakhstan also denied the report.

"Everything Kazakhstan does in the uranium industry is done in accordance with the IAEA standards and under the control of this organisation," Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Yerzhan Ashykbayev said.

The amount of ore mentioned in the report would account for almost a tenth of Kazakhstan's 2009 output. The spot market price for 1,350 tons of yellow cake would be around $130 million, less than a third of Iran's reported bid.

Kazakhstan's state nuclear company Kazatomprom said on Wednesday it would produce 13,900 tonnes of uranium this year and 18,000 in 2010.

More than three-quarters of the total is produced by joint ventures with companies.

The IAEA declined to comment on the report.

Iran, the world's fifth-largest crude oil exporter, says its nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity so that it can export more of its gas and oil, dismissing West claims it is a cover to build nuclear weapons.


Agencies

Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2009, 17:30
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