Arak checks agreed at IAEA/Iran meeting

16 July 2007

[IAEA, Reuters, 13 July] The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had reached a deal with Iran to allow an inspection of the Arak heavy water reactor. A delegation from IAEA headed by Olli Heinonen, deputy director general for safeguards, visited Iran on 11-12 July. The purpose of the visit was to draw up a work plan for resolving outstanding issues related to Iran's past nuclear program and to clarify some present safeguards implementation issues. During discussions with Ali Larijani, Iran's security chief, an agreement was reached for a visit by IAEA inspectors to Iran's 40 MWt heavy water reactor at Arak by the end of July. The Arak reactor is due for completion in 2009. Iran describes this unit as a research reactor, but heavy water reactors can be used to rapidly breed plutonium from natural uranium. This plutonium could be used for military purposes, although Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful. Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, confirmed that the inspection would take place at Arak while adding that Iran saw completion of the reactor as its undeniable right. In 2006, the IAEA's governing board rejected a request from Iran for technical aid for Arak. In addition, Iran agreed to the finalization in early August of plans to monitor the Natanz enrichment plant. Also, an agreement was reached to resolving remaining issues regarding Iran's past plutonium experiments. A meeting will be held in Iran in early August to discuss this. The United Nations' (UN's) Security Council has imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran since December for failing to halt its uranium enrichment program. A third sanctions resolution is being considered.

Further information

International Atomic Energy Agency

WNA's Iraq, North Korea & Iran - Implications for Safeguards information paper

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