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Russia exits nuclear conversion project, but stands by Iran

Russia has halted its conversion operations at Iran's Fordow nuclear facility, but this doesn't signal a crack in Moscow-Tehran relations.
FORDOW FACILITY, IRAN-JANUARY 30,2013:  This is a satellite image of the Fordow facility in Iran.  (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Russian company TVEL, a subsidiary of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, has suspended a research project with Iran that was designed to convert the latter's Fordow uranium enrichment site to produce medical isotopes. But the decision doesn't mean Moscow is reducing its support for Iran in the face of American pressure.

Since the United States withdrew last year from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with world powers — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Tehran has been reducing its commitments under the deal. For one, it decided Nov. 6 to resume uranium enrichment at Fordow. TVEL, which has been working on converting the site since 2017, announced Dec. 5 it was withdrawing because the enrichment activity is incompatible with producing radioactive isotopes for medical purposes.

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