Iranian nuclear official denies Arak plant dismantled


(JTA) — An Iranian nuclear official denied a report that Iran has dismantled the core of its heavy water nuclear reactor as part of its deal reached with the world powers.

Iran’s deputy nuclear chief, Ali Asghar Zarean, told Iran’s state television on Tuesday that it will not change the core of the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor until it reaches a final agreement with China to modify the reactor, Reuters reported.

However, the reactor is expected to be decommissioned in the coming days, the official state news agency IRNA reported, citing the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran.

The statements were in response to a report by the state-sponsored Fars News Agency that Iran finished taking out the core of its heavy water nuclear reactor in Arak and filling it with cement on Monday, thus fulfilling its responsibility under the nuclear agreement reached over the summer with six countries, including the United States.

Under the agreement, Iran is required to redesign the Arak reactor so it cannot produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. Iran claims it needs the heavy water reactor for production of medical isotopes.

The deal, vehemently opposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Republicans in the U.S. Congress and many American Jewish organizations, lifts economic sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

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