Saturday 23 September 2017

US "deeply troubled" by Iran's nuclear plans

U.S. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ambassador Joseph Macmanus
U.S. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ambassador Joseph Macmanus

Fredrik Dahl

The United States said today it is "deeply troubled" over Iran's plans to launch a new heavy water reactor in 2014 while failing to provide the U.N. nuclear watchdog with necessary design information about the plant.

Western diplomats and experts say the Arak reactor could yield plutonium for nuclear bombs if its spent fuel were reprocessed, something which Iran says it has no intention of doing. The Islamic Republic says the plant will produce medical and agricultural isotopes.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran must urgently provide it with design data about the facility, warning that it would otherwise adversely affect its inspectors' ability to monitor the site effectively.

"We are deeply troubled that Iran claims that the IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak could be commissioned as soon as early 2014, but still refuses to provide the requisite design information for the reactor," U.S. Ambassador Joseph Macmanus told a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors.

He cited IAEA rules that a member state must inform the Vienna-based U.N. agency about a nuclear facility, and give design details, as soon as it has decided to build it.

"Iran's refusal to fulfil this basic obligation must necessarily cause one to ask whether Iran is again pursuing covert nuclear activities," Macmanus said.

Reuters

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