The United States will buy heavy water from Iran’s nuclear program and expects it to be delivered within weeks, U.S. officials said on Friday, a move that Republican lawmakers quickly criticized.
The U.S. Department of Energy, or DOE, will buy 32 metric tonnes of heavy water from Iran worth $8.6 million, a department spokeswoman said. Heavy water is a component of making nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, that is not radioactive.
Under last year’s landmark nuclear deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers, Tehran is responsible for reducing its stock of heavy water, which it can sell, dilute or dispose of, under conditions.
Iran is permitted to keep up to 130 tonnes of heavy water at present and up to 90 tonnes once its redesigned and rebuilt Arak nuclear research reactor is commissioned.
“The United States will not be Iran’s customer forever,” the DOE spokeswoman said. U.S. officials hope the purchase will pave the way for other countries to buy the heavy water, which can be used in the development of semiconductors and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, who discussed the sale with U.S. officials in Vienna on Friday, told reporters that the 32 tonnes have been sold to an American company. Read more