January 1, 2012

U.S. sanctions on Iran are answered: announcement of new nuclear achievement

    Sunday, January 01, 2012   No comments

On the same day the U.S. president signed a bill containing new sanctions on Iran, the latter said its engineers have succeeded in producing a nuclear fuel rod, a major achievement for the country’s nuclear ambitions.

Nuclear fuel rods are used at power plants. They contain small pellets of fuel, usually low-enriched uranium, patterned in a way allowing them to give out heat produced by nuclear reaction without melting down. Building one is a technological challenge, which Iran was thought incapable of overcoming.

According to the Iranian Nuclear Agency, the first rod produced by the country domestically has already been inserted into a research reactor, although it did not specify whether the device was loaded with fuel or not.

On Saturday President Barack Obama signed a controversial multibillion-dollar defense bill that contained new sanctions on Iran, which was said to reduce Tehran’s oil revenues and is expected to force the country into making its nuclear program more transparent. An Iranian official, the head of Chamber of Commerce Mohammad Nahavandian dismissed the new sanctions as “unjustifiable.”

In the past several weeks, Iran has been in the news since the Israeli media broke a story that some Israeli leaders were actively drawing out plans for attacking Iranian nuclear sites. Then, mysterious explosions rocked two military sites in Iran before that country announced the downing of a top-secret U.S. spy drone. While the Iranian navy was conducting a ten day war games near the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran threatened to close if U.S. and EU impose sanctions on its oil export, the administration approved a $30 billion deal setting fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.

Without doubt, even if Iran fails to shut down the Strait, any military tension in that region could raise the price of oil to at least $200—a blow to a fragile world economy.


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