VIENNA – Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms, the United Nations’ nuclear agency said Sunday.
The move was expected. Tehran had committed to convert or dilute its 20-percent enriched stockpile under an agreement with six powers last November that froze its atomic programs pending negotiations on a comprehensive deal. Those talks were extended Saturday to Nov. 24.
Still, the development was noteworthy in reflecting Iran’s desire not to derail the diplomatic process with the six countries – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
Iran had more than 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium when the preliminary agreement was reached. That’s nearly enough for one warhead.
A report from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency obtained by the Associated Press said that all has now been converted or diluted. The report said Iran was observing all of its other commitments as well.
At 20 percent, enriched uranium can be converted quickly to arm a nuclear weapon. Iran denies wanting such arms.
Al-Maliki condemns Islamic State
BAGHDAD – Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday condemned the Islamic State extremist group’s actions targeting Christians in territory it controls, saying they reveal the threat the jihadists pose to the minority community’s “centuries-old heritage.”
The comments from Nouri al-Maliki come a day after the expiration of a deadline imposed by the Islamic State group calling on Christians in the militant-held city of Mosul to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death. Most Christians opted to flee to the nearby self-ruled Kurdish region or other areas protected by Kurdish security forces.
Group home owner freed; no charges
MEXICO CITY – The owner of a group home raided last week amid charges of abuse and other mistreatment of children living there has been released from custody without charge, an official in the federal attorney general’s office said Sunday.
The official said there was not enough evidence to warrant charges and added that the 79-year-old owner, Rosa Verduzco, is too old to be put in jail.
But the official also said the investigation was continuing. The official agreed to reveal the information only if not quoted by name because he wasn’t authorized to speak with journalists about the case.
Two of the shelter’s employees also have been released, but six others are being held in prison after witnesses accused them of beatings, sexual abuse and deprivation of liberty, officials say.