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Iran Announces Progress on Plutonium Reactor, Excludes Possibility of Concessions

Iranian state media on Sunday celebrated critical advances in bringing the country’s plutonium reactor online. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on hand as workers at the country’s Arak heavy water facility installed containers on the plant’s reactor:

Workers installed two containers on the reactor at the Arak heavy water facility in central Iran, Fars said. It quoted the head of Iran’s nuclear agency as saying he thought the reactor will be able to help produce medicine in 2014. “We hope that we can go through the relevant phases and carry out the necessary tests to make sure of the proper operation of this reactor and start its full launch next year,” Fereidoun Abbasi said.

Diplomats, including representatives at the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog (IAEA), have expressed concern that the development of the facility will provide Iran with a second pathway to developing a nuclear weapon. Iran is widely perceived to already be pursuing a nuclear weapon along its other pathway, under which the Islamic republic would develop a uranium-based bomb.

Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh declared in response to criticism that Tehran would not scale back its efforts:

In response, Iran’s ambassador told reporters that Tehran had every intention of continuing with plans to build the reactor regardless of international pressure to delay further building. “We will not yield to pressure, sanctions, threats of attack,” Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said.

[Photo: SignsofThyComing / Youtube]