Reuters : Iran will press on with its Arak heavy water reactor whether or not the U.N. nuclear watchdog provides help, according to the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran will press on with its Arak heavy water reactor whether or not the U.N. nuclear watchdog provides help, according to the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors has repeatedly urged Iran to reconsider the project, but Iran has kept on building and now wants IAEA technical expertise to ensure the plant meets safety standards.
Diplomats say that the IAEA is unlikely to agree because of fears the plant could yield atomic explosives.
“Whether the IAEA helps or not, the research reactor in Arak will continue its work,” the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) on Saturday quoted Gholamreza Aghazadeh as saying.
“If the IAEA denies the assistance, it will be harmful for the IAEA … It is the IAEA that insists on Iran cooperating with it on the security dimension of the reactor.”
Aghazadeh also said Arak, often referred to by Iranian officials as a “research reactor” due for completion in 2009, would make isotopes for medical and other peaceful uses.
He said it would replace a light water research reactor in Tehran, built by the United States before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Western leaders say that, given Iran’s record of hiding nuclear research from U.N. inspectors and evading IAEA probes, there is a high risk that it will produce plutonium, used in nuclear warheads, as a byproduct of Arak’s other output.