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Iran Uranium Stockpile Falls 18% in Months Following Deal Start

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Iran’s stockpile of its most sensitive nuclear material dropped 18 percent since world powers agreed to an interim deal with the Islamic Republic, United Nations nuclear inspectors verified.

Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent fell to 161 kilograms (355 pounds) from 196 kilograms reported in November, International Atomic Energy Agency monitors said in an 18-page restricted report seen by Bloomberg News. While Iran continued to manufacture lower-grade material, raising the total amount made to 11,111 kilograms from 10,357 kilograms reported last quarter, it stuck by its agreement to stop installing additional centrifuges, halt work at its Arak reactor and increase cooperation with the agency.

“Iran has implemented the six initial practical measures that it agreed with the agency in November,” the IAEA report said. “The agency has started to undertake monitoring and verification in relation to the measures” set out by Iran’s deal with world powers, it said.

It’s the first time since 2010 that Iran’s stockpile of 20 percent-enriched uranium has fallen. The IAEA report follows today’s agreement between Iran and world powers to seek a long-term nuclear accord by July, when the interim deal they clinched expires. Iran is getting about $7 billion of sanctions relief in return for suspending its most sensitive nuclear work for six months.

About 175 kilograms of 20 percent-enriched uranium, or 630 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, if further purified, could yield the quantity of weapons-grade uranium needed to produce a bomb, according to the London-based Verification Research, Training and Information Center, a non-governmental observer to the IAEA that’s funded by European governments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at jtirone@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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