Tehran, Beijing to Sign Arak Reactor Deal

Tehran, Beijing to Sign Arak Reactor Deal
Tehran, Beijing to Sign Arak Reactor Deal

Beijing said Iranian and Chinese companies will sign the first commercial contracts to redesign the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor in central Iran by Sunday. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing on Thursday that the accords would be inked in Vienna on Sunday, with initial agreements having already been reached in Beijing, Press TV reported.

He described the contracts as an important part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Lu said China and the US jointly headed the working group on the Arak project, adding that smooth progress had been made on the plan.

"The signing of this contract will create good conditions for substantively starting the redesign project," he said. The 40-megawatt Arak reactor is intended to produce isotopes for cancer and other medical treatments. Iran is redesigning the planned research reactor to sharply cut its potential output of plutonium.

Iran has removed the sensitive core of the reactor and UN inspectors have visited the site to verify the move, which is crucial for the implementation of JCPOA. Iran and P5+1—the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany—signed the nuclear accord on July 14, 2015, and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the agreement, limits were placed on Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The UN Security Council later unanimously endorsed a resolution that effectively turned JCPOA into international law.

The Chinese diplomat also hoped that parties to the pact would appropriately handle disagreements and ensure that the deal was fully enforced. The administration of US President Donald Trump has adopted a hostile stance on Iran and is currently undertaking a review of the US policy on Iran.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged that Iran was complying with the nuclear deal, claiming, however, that the JCPOA had merely "delayed Iran's goal of becoming a nuclear state", a charge vehemently denied by Tehran.


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