Iran says it won’t shutter heavy water reactor

A general view of Arak heavy water reactor, Iran

Iran is pinning its hopes on the success of talks with the West about its nuclear program but has no plans to abandon a controversial reactor, its foreign minister said Wednesday.

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments as he ended an official visit to Tokyo which included talks with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“We have based all of our calculations on the success of these negotiations,” Zarif told reporters.

“I think that’s a better option, for the negotiations to succeed. It’s a better option for everybody.”
Zarif said Iran would not shutter the unfinished Arak heavy water reactor, a concern to the West because Tehran could extract weapons-grade plutonium from its spent fuel if it also builds a reprocessing facility.

This would give it a second route to a nuclear bomb.

On Tuesday, Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran’s refusal to shutter Arak showed it was covertly pursuing nuclear weapons.