Iranian officials made an official announcement about the launch of a heavy water plant in the town of Arak. The announcement was made only several days before the expiry of the term set to Iran by the UN Security Council to suspend all uranium enrichment and processing works. If the government of Iran fails to meet the requirement by the end of August, the country may suffer from international sanctions.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is to arrive in Teheran at the end of the current week to study the situation. Russia stands against the sanctions. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov particularly said that it was too early to speak about an opportunity of introducing sanctions against Iran.
Iran’s heavy water factory in Arak can already produce 16 tons of nuclear fuel a year for the 40-megawatt reactor which is being built nearby. The construction of the reactor is to be finished in 2009. The factory in Arak will be able to produce 80 tons of nuclear fuel a year in the future, the Teheran Times newspaper wrote.
As a matter of fact, the factory was put into operation in 2004. However, its production capacity was doubled on August 26, 2006. The official ceremony with the participation of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showed that the country was determined to oppose to the pressure of the international society. The president of Iran stressed out that the country would continue developing nuclear technologies even if the UN Security Council imposes sanctions against it. Ahmadinejad urged the international community to acknowledge the existence of powerful, peaceful and industrially-developed Iran . “It is in the interests of all governments and all nations, no matter if they like Iran or not,” Ahmadinejad stated.
The press service of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the Vremya Novostei newspaper that the heavy water factory in Arak “formally does not fall into the ban list of both this organization and the UN.” However, the fuel produced by the factory can be used both for the production of nuclear power and for its further use to make military plutonium.
Resolution of the UN Security Council issued on July 31 says that IAEA’s Director Muhammad El Baradei is to deliver a report about Iran’s measures to suspend uranium-enrichment works. The report is expected to be delivered in the middle of September. However, the Secretary of Iranian National Security Council, Ali Larijani, confirmed yesterday that the country would continue enriching uranium.
Western officials have repeatedly expressed their concerns over the works at the nuclear complex in Arak. They believe that the heavy water plant will let Iran make the inner content for one A-bomb a year. Vice President of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems, General Leonid Ivashov, believes that the new capacity of the factory may raise a possibility of a military action against Iran conducted by the USA, Israel and even Great Britain.
It is worthy of note that Iran’s nuclear complex in Arak is encircled by air defense systems.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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