uranium Current Affairs - 2019
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Iran announced it will continue with its low-level uranium enrichment in line with its nuclear deal with world powers. This move comes when on 3 May 2019, US forced Iran to stop producing low-enriched uranium and halt expanding its only nuclear power plant, thus intensifying campaign aimed at stopping Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and curbing its regional power.
Move taken by US against Iran
- US efforts to impose political and economic isolation on Tehran began in 2018 when US President Trump unilaterally withdrew from nuclear deal which US and other world powers negotiated with Iran in 2015.
- US also scrapped its sanctions waiver under 2015 nuclear deal which until now allowed Iran to ship low enriched uranium produced at its Natanz facility, to Russia before it hit 300 kg limit and can even evade 300 kg limit on amount of low-enriched uranium it can store.
- In recent move US announced discontinuing waivers and sanctions for countries (even India) buying oil from Iranian oil. It is an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.
- It also blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorist Organization.
Arguments by Iran
- As per (nuclear accord) Iran can produce heavy water (which is employed in reactors to produce plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear warheads), as this does not violate agreement so Iran will carry on with enrichment activity.
- Its low-enriched uranium production helps Iran produce electricity.
- Iran called for talks with its other partners in nuclear deal and UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to approve that Iran can enrich fuel to 20 percent and higher.
- It is trying to counter US sanctions by continuing to export its oil at the same time boosting its non-oil exports.
- In a move to increase its hard currency income and cut down currency expenditures, Iran will increase production and raise non-oil exports.
IAEA: International Atomic Energy Agency
- It was established in 1957as an autonomous organization with headquarters Vienna. It’s objective is to promote peaceful use of nuclear energy, and prevent its use for any military purpose, including production of nuclear weapons.
- Although it is independent of UN but it reports to both United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and to UN Security Council (UNSC).
- It won Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019.
Important Outcomes of the Bilateral Meet
- An agreement for importing uranium from Uzbekistan was signed.
- An agreement for a line of credit of $200 million from India for financing housing and social infrastructure projects in Uzbekistan.
The agreement for the supply of Uranium was signed between the Department of Atomic Energy of India and the Novoi Minerals and Metallurgical Company of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the long-term supply of uranium ore concentrate for India’s energy requirements.
The bilateral meet also expressed satisfaction over the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation between Gujarat and the Andijan region of Uzbekistan signed during the state visit of President Mirziyoyev to India in 2018.
Trade relations between India and Uzbekistan
India’s major exports to Uzbekistan include Pharmaceutical products, mechanical equipment, vehicles, services, optical instruments and equipment.
India imports include fruit and vegetable products, services, fertilisers, juice products, extracts and lubricants from the Central Asian nation.
An Uzbek-Indian Free Pharmaceutical Zone is being developed in the Andijan region, which is on the southeastern side of Uzbekistan, near its border with Kyrgyzstan to attract investments in the pharmaceutical sector.
During the Bilateral meet, India thanked Uzbekistan for the support in organising the first-ever India-Central Asia Dialogue held at the level of foreign ministers in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.