Iran’s race to the bomb has been slowed. That is why it’s announcing the purchase of ballistic missile parts from North Korea and that it is moving forward with the construction of the Arak Heavy Water reactor.
The still uncompleted Arak heavy-water reactor, seen by the West as a potential source of nuclear bomb fuel, has emerged as a big stumbling block in Iran’s talks with six world powers on a deal to rein in its nuclear program.
Iran denies Western accusations that it is seeking the capability to make atomic bombs and says the research reactor near the town of Arak, some 250 km (155 miles) southwest of the capital Tehran, will produce only radio-isotopes for medicine.
But experts say this reactor type is suitable for making plutonium, thus providing an alternative pathway to manufacturing fissile material for the core of a nuclear weapon, in addition to Iran’s enrichment of uranium.
Right. Medicines. Despite the non-deal with Iran, the Arak heavy water reactor is moving forward. With Obama’s approval.
The U.S. says Iran can undertake some construction work at a key nuclear facility as long as fuel isn’t produced and advances aren’t made on a planned heavy water reactor.
The White House said afterward Iran wouldn’t advance its “activities” at Arak or progress toward plutonium production. It spelled out several more constraints.
So Obama Inc. has got this covered. Right?
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday while his country was honoring the deal, construction on building projects would continue.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says she isn’t sure what work Zarif meant. She says road or building work might be allowable. But nuclear fuel production, reactor work, testing, control systems advances and other activities aren’t permissible.
Jen Psaki, like her bosses John Kerry and Barack Obama, is famous for knowing nothing. But IAEA monitoring will surely prevent Iran from doing anything impermissible.
The UN nuclear watchdog said Thursday it was not yet ready to verify Iran’s compliance with the recent deal with world powers, as Tehran invited inspectors to the key Arak site.
“We need to study the agreement (struck in Geneva on Sunday) and we have to identify the ways in which the elements relevant to the IAEA be put into practice,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yuyika Amano said.
“It will take time because it is a quite complicated task and we would like to properly prepare and do the job properly…. I cannot tell when we will be ready,” he told reporters.
Fortunately Iran doesn’t have that problem.