Iran announces new step in nuclear program — Analysis

Tehran will build its first “homegrown” research reactor, the country’s vice president says

Iran will create a new country. “homegrown” nuclear research reactor near the city of Isfahan, Iranian vice president and head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, said on Wednesday.

“We are planning to officially start construction on a research reactor at the Isfahan nuclear site in the coming weeks,” Eslami told reporters during a visit to the facility’s Uranium Conversion Facility (UFC). 

Built in the 1980s, the Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center in central Iran is the country’s largest nuclear research facility. The UFC is not the only thing it houses. It also houses a number of Chinese-made research reactors and a fuel producing plant. 

Eslami claims that there are three types of terrorism: “entirely domestic”Iran can eventually access all the nuclear energy production chains through this construction project. Iran is unwilling to collaborate with other nations who have these capabilities. 

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Eslami declared that Iran had begun construction of its first domestic nuclear plant on June 25. Iran currently operates one nuclear power plant, the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant. It was built by German companies in 1970s but completed by Russians in 2010.  

Iran has been gradually ramping up its nuclear program since former US President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 

Signed in 2015 by Tehran and a group of six nations – the United States, UK, Germany, France, Russia and China – the JCPOA, also known as the “Iran deal,”  saw the Islamic Republic agree to significantly curb its nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief. 

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The US pulled out from the deal, and Iran imposed new sanctions immediately. Tehran also began to suspend compliance with some parts of JCPOA. This included limits to uranium-enrichment. 

American President Joe Biden stated his intent to revive the accord, but efforts have not yielded tangible results. Washington has been engaged in mutual blame-pointing with Tehran over the failure to make progress. While Iran officials claim that Washington must revert to the original agreement, and remove all the sanctions completely, the US insists that Iran has made new demands during negotiations. 

Although Iran’s nuclear program has been peaceful for many years, some Western countries are concerned about the increase in nuclear activity.  

A top advisor of the Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that while Iran has the technical capacity to create a bomb, it hadn’t yet taken the political step to do so.

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