Iran acknowledged on Tuesday that it was converting some of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, a move that could help to prevent a dispute with the West over its nuclear program hitting a crisis in mid-2013. It was Iran's first acknowledgment that it had apparently resumed converting into fuel small amounts of uranium enriched to a concentration of 20 percent fissile material.
Iran's production of that higher-grade uranium worries the P5 + 1 - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – because it is only a short technical step away from the 90-percent purity needed for a weapon. Negotiations with the P5 + 1 and the U.N. Security Council sanctions have failed to persuade Iran to stop its enrichment activities, and the IAEA has been refused full access to investigate other suspect elements of the nuclear program.
Iran denies that it is seeking a weapon and says its nuclear program serves only peaceful purposes such as electricity and the production of medical isotopes.