Iran is running out of uranium, and Western countries are stepping up diplomatic efforts to keep Tehran from replenishing its supply, the Times of London reports. Iran, which may be out of uranium in months, has so far pursued its nuclear ambitions with a stockpile acquired from South Africa in the 1970s. That material was intended for a civil program, which Iran maintains it is pursuing, but the country is widely thought to be building a bomb.
Britain and the US, among others, are lobbying major producers such as Kazakhstan, Brazil, and Congo to dissuade them from sending uranium to Iran. If Iran attempts to acquire so-called yellow cake uranium from producers, it would strongly indicate a weapons program. The intense diplomatic effort to block supplies suggests that 2009 is viewed as a pivotal year for Iran's nuclear efforts, the Times notes.