Iran continues to build reactor
Iran will pursue construction at the Arak heavy-water reactor, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif was quoted as saying on Wednesday, despite a deal with world powers to shelve a project they fear could yield plutonium for atomic bombs.Critics of the deal have said that Iran cannot be trusted and this seems to confirm their suspicions. It appears that Iran has operated in bad faith and is not going to let the "agreement" inhibit their ambitions to build nuclear facilities.
France, one of the six powers that negotiated Sunday's landmark initial accord with Iran to curb its disputed nuclear program, said in response to Zarif's statement that Tehran had to stick to what was agreed in the Geneva talks.
The uncompleted research reactor emerged as one of several big stumbling blocks in the marathon negotiations, in which Iran agreed to restrain its atomic activities for six months in return for limited sanctions relief. The agreement is intended to buy time for talks on a final settlement of the dispute.
Western powers fear Arak could be a source of plutonium - one of two materials, along with highly enriched uranium, that can be used for the core of a nuclear weapon - once it is operational. Iran says it would produce medical isotopes only.
According to the agreed text, Iran said it would not make "any further advances of its activities" on the Arak reactor, under construction near a western Iranian town with that name.
"Capacity at the Arak site is not going to increase. It means no new nuclear fuel will be produced and no new installations will be installed, but construction will continue there," Zarif told parliament in translated comments broadcast on Iran's Press TV.
"The ink has not even dried on the agreement and already we are hearing provocative announcements from Iran, like this, whose coyness and ambiguity could well augur a breach of the deal," Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Reuters when asked about Zarif's statement.