News ID: 131522
Published: 0948 GMT November 23, 2015

China calls for accelerated redesign of Iran’s Arak reactor

China calls for accelerated redesign of Iran’s Arak reactor

China has urged all sides involved in a mid-2015 nuclear agreement with Iran to accelerate their efforts for redesign and modernization of the Arak heavy water reactor.

In a press briefing on Monday, a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed hope that "substantial work" for redesign and reconstruction of Arak heavy water reactor could begin soon now that all relevant parties have signed a final document on the case.

Hong Lei said that the finalization of the document, which gained the final approval of the P5+1 group -- the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany -- on November 18, paves the way for the implementation of the Arak modernization project. 

Based on the agreement, China will play a major part in the redesign process by participating in the redesign and construction of the modernized reactor in Arak.

During negotiations that led to a nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 on July 14, China proposed to reduce the output of plutonium in the Arak facility by technical means while keeping Iran's heavy water reactor in place.

The proposal won the approval from both sides as a clause was inserted in the final text of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. According to the agreement, “Iran will redesign and rebuild a modernized heavy water research reactor in Arak, based on an agreed conceptual design, using fuel enriched up to 3.67 %, in a form of an international partnership which will certify the final design.”

The Monday statement by Beijing came hours after Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, called the conclusion of the document “an important milestone towards the full implementation of Iran's nuclear deal.”

Iran, which is to assume the position of manager in the Arak project, said on Saturday that it has struck "a robust" deal with the P5+1 group of countries on the modernization of the Arak reactor. Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the document will remove any concerns regarding the redesigning of the reactor. 

According to the document, the United States will provide technical support and will review the reactor's modernized design, while France, Britain and Germany will also participate in the review. Russia will also provide consultation in the process.

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