Iran Nuclear NewsBelgian authorities stop firm exporting to Iran over nuclear...

Belgian authorities stop firm exporting to Iran over nuclear fears

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AFP: A Belgian-based company has been denied a licence to export materials to Iran to build a phosphoric acid factory over fears it could be used to enrich uranium, authorities in Brussels said on Thursday. Phosphoric acid is part of “fertilizer for use in agriculture, but with a few modifications it could be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear programme,” said a spokesman for the Brussels region external relations ministry. AFP

BRUSSELS – A Belgian-based company has been denied a licence to export materials to Iran to build a phosphoric acid factory over fears it could be used to enrich uranium, authorities in Brussels said on Thursday.

Phosphoric acid is part of “fertilizer for use in agriculture, but with a few modifications it could be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear programme,” said a spokesman for the Brussels region external relations ministry.

The move comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the so-called European Union three — Britain, France and Germany — as they negotiate the future and scope of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme.

The ministry decided in mid-July to refuse the licence to the Lavalin Europe company, a subsidiary for Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, after consulting industry experts and federal government authorities.

In a letter to Lavalin explaining the decision, the ministry said “all of the foreign interlocutors expressed great concern over the delivery of this production facility to Iran.”

“The complex process of negotiation between the EU-3 and Iran has reached a crucial phase and maximum care is counselled,” it said, adding it had refused the licence “given the international context and the real danger of misuse.”

Lavalin Europe’s legal adviser confirmed the move but could not immediately say what action the company would be taking.

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