Iran tries to bulk order magnets for its nuclear program
American centrifuges enriching uranium (Photo credit: US Department of Energy/ Wikimedia Commons)
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Iran recently attempted to purchase tens of thousands of magnets to be used for uranium enrichment, which would enable the country to expand its nuclear program, according to experts and diplomats, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The new orders for the nuclear-sensitive parts coincides with plans to add thousands of more advanced, second-generation centrifuges that would allow Iran to increase its production of enriched uranium even further, analysts told the U.S. newspaper.
While this is not the first time Iran has sought to buy banned items from foreign vendors, this case is considered unusual because of the order’s specificity and size.
The recent move by the Persian nation has fueled Western concerns that Iran is planning to produce atomic weapons.
An unnamed European diplomat with access to sensitive intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities, told The Washington Post: "They are positioning themselves to make a lot of nuclear progress quickly."
"Each step forward makes the situation potentially more dangerous," he added.
Meanwhile, Iran has taken steps to ease Western anxiety by converting a portion of its uranium stockpile into a metal form that cannot be easily used to make nuclear weapons.
Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, on Tuesday told reporters in Tehran that this conversion is already underway: “This work is being done," he said.
Senior UN investigators were in Iran on Wednesday for a new round of talks with government officials over allegations that Tehran may have carried out tests on triggers for atomic weapons.
A report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, due for release this week, is expected to document Iran’s seemingly contradictory moves.
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