UN Report: Iran Has Started Cutting Back on Nuclear Technology

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The suspected uranium-enrichment facility of Fordow near Qom, 156 km southwest of Tehran, seen in this September 27, 2009 satellite photograph released by DigitalGlobe on September 28, 2009.Credit: Reuters

Iran has started cutting back on some nuclear technology, which could be reengineered to make nuclear weapons, in line with a deal with six world powers, a UN nuclear agency report said Wednesday.

However, diplomats familiar with the report cautioned that the country is keeping thousands of machines that could be used for such a purpose on standby.

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency report and the diplomats' assessments present a mixed picture of the pace of Iran's moves to comply with the July 14 deal it signed with the six countries and come about a month after October 18, the official date for the start of the deal's implementation.

Since then, the report showed that Iran has reduced the number of centrifuges it uses to enrich uranium, which can produce nuclear fuel, isotopes for research or the core of an atomic bomb, depending on the degree of enrichment.

It said 11,308 centrifuges were standing at Iran's main enrichment center as of November 15 — over 3,000 fewer than before implementation day for the deal. It also noted reductions at a smaller facility.

But the diplomats said all of the machines that have been taken out were idle. The thousands of centrifuges that were spinning uranium into enriched levels used for fuel are no longer online but remain on standby and can be restarted at short notice.

The two diplomats who spoke to The Associated Press demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the contents of the restricted report being circulated to the UN Security Council and the 36-nation IAEA board.

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