China Urges Accelerated Redesign of Arak Reactor

China Urges Accelerated Redesign of Arak Reactor

China has called on all sides concerned to accelerate “substantial work” for the redesign and reconstruction of Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday.
A document assigning roles to each party involved has been signed by foreign ministers of E3+3 (France, Britain and Germany plus the United States, Russia and China), Iran and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, according to an announcement by Mogherini on Sunday.
The redesign project is part of nuclear negotiations that reached a conclusion in July, marking an end to decades of standoff between Iran and the West.
Western states wanted Iran to modify the Arak reactor to a light one to address the concern of a technical path to a nuclear bomb, while Iran could not accept that demand.
Tehran denies its nuclear program may have any military aspects.
To resolve the issue, China proposed to reduce the output of plutonium by technical means while keeping Iran’s heavy water reactor, which won approval from both sides.
“China is glad to see all sides have signed the document, which paves the way for the implementation of the Arak modernization project,” Spokesperson Hong Lei told a regular press briefing on Monday, Xinhua reported.
Hong said the official document was a prerequisite for the start of substantial work for the Arak reactor’s reconstruction. Now that all sides have signed, work can begin.
According to the document, China will “participate in the design and construction of the modernized reactor.”
All sides should be committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official name of the July nuclear deal) and the consensus to push forward the substantial work of the project, said Hong.
China, as a co-chair of the E3+3 Working Group, which will cooperate in revamping the reactor, has played a constructive role in promoting the early conclusion of the document, Hong said, stressing that China will continue joint efforts with other parties involved.
The United States is another co-chair of the Working Group.

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