Iran dismisses nuke deal violation by buying heavy-water reactor parts
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 9
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Buying parts for Arak heavy-water reactor (located in central Iran) doesn't violate the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, the Islamic Republic's Atomic Energy Organization's spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said.
The Geneva nuclear deal has only put ban on installing new equipment in the reactor, not buying new parts, Kamalvandi said, Iran's Fars news agency reported Dec. 9.
The Iranian official made the comments while reacting to some western media outlets' reports claiming the US administration believes Iran's purchases have put it out of compliance with nuclear deal.
However the US State Department said on Dec. 8 that Iran is still in compliance with its nuclear obligations despite reports that Iran is buying materials needed for Arak heavy-water reactor.
While commenting on the claims, Kamalvandi said he has no information on the issue, but even if it is true, the Islamic republic has not violated its commitments.
The US and the EU are concerned that the heavy water reactor could be used to produce plutonium, which can be used to fuel a nuclear weapon as an alternative to highly enriched uranium.
The Arak heavy water reactor if operating optimally would produce about nine kilograms of plutonium annually or enough for about two nuclear weapons each year.
Iran says that weapons-grade plutonium is not produced by the Arak reactor.
The country has agreed to suspend the installation activity at the reactor based on the Geneva nuclear deal.
Iran and the P5+1 group (the US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) agreed to extend nuclear talks until July 1, 2015 after failing to meet the 24 Nov. deadline to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement.
The sides also extended the Geneva nuclear deal, which was signed last November for providing Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities.
Umid Niayesh is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh