United States to purchase 32 tons of heavy water from Iran

Purchase to be delivered in coming weeks; Kerry addresses media reports over Iran’s permitted business with international banks; Purchase criticized by Republican leaders

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The United States confirmed that it will purchase heavy water from Iran’s nuclear program with delivery in the upcoming weeks. The Wall Street Journal reported that the delivery of heavy water formed by a hydrogen isotope would be delivered by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran for “critically important” research to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The heavy water is expected to be resold to commercial and research buyers later on.

According the United States Department of Energy, 32 metric tons of non-radioactive, heavy water will be purchased at $8.6 million. The purchase aids in Iran’s responsibilities to keep no more than 130 tons of heavy water which will is to lower to 90 after it rebuilds its Arak nuclear site. One of the conditions of the nuclear deal made with world powers, the sale will allow Iran to “pave the way” for international purchases of materials from Iran.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby clarified the purchase, stating “Our purchase of the heavy water means that it will instead be used for critically important research and non-nuclear industrial requirements,” a spokesman for the DOE stating “The United States will not be Iran’s customer forever.”

Secretary of State John Kerry addressed media reports on Iran’s renewed business with foreign banks. He stated following a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Friday that “The United States is not standing in the way, and will not stand in the way, of business that is permitted in Iran since the [nuclear deal] took effect. There are now opportunities for foreign banks to do business with Iran. Unfortunately there seems to be some confusion among some foreign banks and we want to try and clarify that… Among the nuclear-related sanctions that were lifted were those that prevented Iran from engaging with non-U.S. banks, including getting access to Iran’s restricted funds.”

Zarif responded that though there are still “difference with the United States”, but that Iran will “see serious implementation of all benefits that Iran should [enjoy] from this agreement.” He stated that “It’s essential that the other side, especially the United States, fulfill its commitments not on paper but in practice and removes the obstacles, especially in banking sector.”

Several predominant Republican leaders have expressed disapproval of the United States’ purchase, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy statin “Once again, the Obama administration is handing Iran’s radical regime more cash” which he stated “encourages Iran to produce more heavy water to sell, with a stamp of US approval, on the international market.”