State Dept. reports concrete poured into Arak nuclear reactor, mum on violations

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Iran has poured concrete into the core of its heavy water reactor at Arak, the U.S. State Department said on Jan. 14.

The move is seen as critical to the implementation of the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers and the lifting of sanctions that will free up billions of dollars for the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism.

Arak nuclear facility.
Arak nuclear facility.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration remained silent in the wake of several breaches by Iran of UN sanctions and the nuclear framework.

In a Dec. 2 report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that Iran made a “coordinated” effort to develop nuclear weapons in the past. The IAEA also determined that Teheran had violated the terms of its nuclear deal with the West by increasing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 460.2 kilograms.

Another report confirmed that Iran had stopped dismantling its centrifuges at the Natanz and Fordow uranium enrichment plants, a violation of the nuclear deal.

Teheran has also conducted two recent tests of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in violation of UN sanctions.

Still, the White House is ready to give Iran the all clear and implement the deal.

On Jan. 13, Secretary of State John Kerry said the core of the reactor at Arak had been removed and was to be filled with concrete and destroyed. Iran’s shipping of low-enriched uranium materials to Russia was hailed by Kerry as “significant progress.”

Satellite images from several years ago had showed the Arak facility was operational, raising fears that it was in the process of producing plutonium for a nuclear bomb. Iran invited inspectors to visit the plant a year later, shortly after an interim agreement was signed with world powers.