Iran and Kazakhstan: BFF?

Lost in the noise over “National Nuclear Technology Day”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1982/more-about-irans-fmp was some of the diplomatic news around that time. The Syrian foreign minister visited Iran and affirmed Iran’s right to enrich uranium. Just a couple of days before, -so did- the President of Kazakhstan affirmed Iran’s right to “use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes” during a visit there by Ahmadinejad. But that wasn’t all.

“According to Payvand News”:http://www.payvand.com/news/09/apr/1070.html:

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed Iran’s right on Monday to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The Kazak president made the statement after his private talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who arrived in Astana on Monday for a two-day official visit.

The two presidents attended a joint press conference after discussing ways to further develop Tehran-Astana relations and cooperation.

[snip]

Referring to the issue of establishing a nuclear fuel bank, a proposal backed by the US, Nazarbayev voiced Kazakhstan’s readiness to establish the bank.

“If a nuclear fuel bank is to be established, Kazakhstan has the ability to do so,” Nazarbayev said.

That’s interesting, because Iran has enrichment technology but precious little uranium, whereas “Kazakhstan has heaps and heaps of uranium”:http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/26/news/international/uranium_kazakhstan.fortune/, but no enrichment technology. (It currently “depends on Russia”:http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/kazakhstans-nuclear-ambitions for enrichment services.)

I’m not sure this is what the Obama Administration had in mind, actually…

Update: “according to the WSJ”:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123894229162890323.html, the Obama Administration is considering precisely this option: a fuel bank based in Kazakhstan, with Iran as its most important stakeholder. The article says that the fuel bank would be open to countries that “renounce nuclear weapons,” but Iran, as an NPT NNWS, has done so; the question is whether the stakeholders renounce national nuclear fuel cycles. Otherwise, it’s a case of “having one’s yellowcake and eating it, too”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1883/having-ones-yellowcake-and-eating-it-too.

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