Arak Reactor Components' Production Underway

Arak Reactor Components' Production Underway
Arak Reactor Components' Production Underway

The spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says the process of manufacturing components for the Arak heavy water reactor is underway.

"Smaller components of the Arak reactor are being manufactured and the process is ongoing," Behrouz Kamalvandi said in an interview with Iranian television on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

He also said as part of the interim nuclear deal, Iran has undertaken not to launch the reactor or install new components there, but the accord does not state that Iran is not allowed to purchase equipment for the facility.

He went on to say that under the preliminary nuclear deal, which was signed in Geneva in November 2013 between Iran and the six major powers, Iran agreed to delay launching new centrifuge machines, allow more inspections of its nuclear sites and halt production of enriched uranium to a purity level of 20 percent.        

A UN panel of experts, which monitors compliance with the UN's Iran sanctions regime, claimed in a report seen by Reuters on December 8 that Tehran's procurement of banned nuclear technology appeared to have continued in breach of sanctions.

The panel said it was briefed by a member state, which several diplomats identified as the United States, that it "had observed no recent downturn in procurement by Iran."

The state in question had noted a "relative decrease in centrifuge-related procurement" but "an increase in procurement on behalf" of the Arak reactor, the report said.

  No Deal Violation

Kamalvandi at the time told Fars news agency, "I don't have any information on this issue."

He also said it was not a breach of the Geneva agreement, since it "only bans installing new equipment in the (Arak) reactor, not buying new parts."

Under the Geneva deal, Iran agreed not to make any further advances to its construction work at Arak.

United States and its allies say the unfinished Arak reactor is a concern for them as such a reactor type can yield plutonium -- one of two materials, along with highly enriched uranium, that can produce a nuclear explosion. Iran says it ready to redesign the reactor, which is only intended for medical and agricultural research, to sharply cut its plutonium output to ease concerns about the facility.

Tehran denies its nuclear program has any military objective, saying the work is solely for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and medical applications.

Kamalvandi also said on Tuesday that the recent cooperation agreements with Russia on the construction of nuclear power plant units and production of nuclear fuel in Iran do not violate the Geneva accord.

In addition, he said Tehran does not recognize the UN resolutions on its nuclear program as they have no legal basis, so it does not accept restrictions envisaged in them.

In conclusion, he said it is highly likely that Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) will reach a final deal to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear work, but Iran will not halt its nuclear activities if a deal is not struck.