“The Arak project has seen good progress. Its equipment is designed and manufactured by the Iranian experts,” Kamalvandi said in an interview with the Persian-language Jam-e Jam newspaper.
He explained that the parties to the JCPOA were supposed to help Iran redesign the Arak reactor, but, according to Kamalvandi, their help was limited to “an initial review”.
“In this project, we had good progress in the field of fuel and other areas such as fuel car, cooling pumps, control room and other stuff like that,” he said.
“This reactor is ready for cold testing. God willing… In the first half of this (Iranian) year, we will carry out a cold test.”
“The Arak reactor can fully meet the needs of the country for decades,” Kamalvandi added.
Iran agreed to shut down the reactor at Arak – about 250 km Southwest of Tehran – under the 2015 deal. It was allowed to produce a limited amount of heavy water and Tehran has been working on redesigning the reactor. Iran plans to make isotopes for medical and agricultural use.
Back in May 2018, former US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and major world states in 2015 and adopted the so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran with the declared aim of forcing Tehran to negotiate a new deal.
Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year but as the remaining European parties failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, Tehran began in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the accord covering Tehran’s legal rights.
In relevant remarks in January, Spokesman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Abolfazl Amouyee said the country has started designing a new reactor similar to the Arak Heavy Water Reactor, adding that the “IR2M” reactor will be installed in line with the recent parliamentarian law which is a countermeasure against illegal sanctions.
“An IR2M reactor will be installed like the [pervious] Arak Heavy Water Reactor,” Amouyee said, and noted, “In today’s session of the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, the way of implementation of law entitled ‘Strategic Counteractive Plan for Lifting Sanctions and Safeguarding Rights of Iranian People’ was reviewed.”
“Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi submitted a comprehensive report on the implementation of various provisions of the strategic plan. According to him, enriching uranium with 20-percent purity has been implemented in accordance with Article 1 of the law, details of which have been informed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” he went on to say.
“According to the scheduled program, the AEOI is planning a reactor similar to Arak Heavy Water before modernization,” the lawmaker stated.