Iran might briefly accumulate more low-enriched uranium under new limits, as it still cannot change the material to a less bomb-suitable form, Reuters reports.
Envoys and analysts said there is no immediate cause for alarm over a possible short-term boost in the stocks under Iran’s accord with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany.
One diplomat, though, predicted careful global scrutiny of Iran’s preparations to turn its gaseous uranium into solid oxide.
A site for carrying out that task was scheduled to enter trials last month, and then to launch “immediately after” vetting was complete, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards assessment from November. However, the nation appears to have fallen behind in preparing the so-called Enriched UO2 Powder Plant, according to Reuters.
The facility would allow Iran to limit its low-enriched reserves by processing the material into oxide powder, which would be less suited for conversion into bomb-grade, highly enriched uranium.
Washington says Iran has pledged to possess no more low-enriched uranium gas at the end of the pact’s six-month duration than the nation held this week, when the interim nuclear agreement took effect. The deal is intended to carve out space for negotiators to address suspicions that Iran is pursuing a nuclear-arms capability under the guise of a peaceful atomic program.
A high-level Obama administration official said the nation would hold less than 16,865 pounds in July, when the deal is slated to expire. Postponing the oxide plant’s activation means the site would have to operate faster than planned, if Tehran is to fall in line with the stockpile restriction after six months. Iran is believed to produce roughly 550 pounds of low-enriched uranium each month, so it would have to process at least that amount into powder monthly to stay within limits.
Meanwhile, energy-industry observers say the November nuclear deal appears to have slightly boosted Iran’s petroleum sales, Reuters reported separately. The news agency valued the increase at roughly $150 million each month, and linked the change to growing confidence among oil purchasers in anticipation of the atomic accord.
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When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.