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  • Iran's Hassan Rouhani.

    Iran's Hassan Rouhani. | Photo: Presidency of Russia

Published 3 July 2019

Rouhani said that his country is ready to reopen the Arak reactor as early as July 7 if European countries don’t stand by the Iran nuclear deal with the world powers. 

Iran is ready to reopen the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor if the EU fails to live up to its commitments in the Iran nuclear deal known as JCPOA, President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday.

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Iran had agreed to shut down and repurpose the plant in 2015 due to the JCPOA, but the government now says it is ready to restart nuclear activities if the deal is not respected. 

Rouhani said that his country is ready to reopen the Arak reactor as early as July 7 if European countries don’t stand by their JCPOA commitments. “As of July 7, the Arak reactor would be restored to its former condition, which they (other parties) used to claim was ‘dangerous’ and could produce plutonium,” he said according to Press TV. 

Though European countries have been big supporters of the deal, and were instrumental in bringing Iran and the U.S. to the negotiating table, Iran is nevertheless concerned that the EU may bow to President Donald Trump's pressure and impose sanctions.

Iranian state outlet PressTV argued that “Europe has been throwing only verbal support behind the agreement ever since, refusing to guarantee the Islamic Republic’s business interests in the face of American bans despite being contractually obliged to do so.”

Under the JCPOA, Iran had agreed to discontinue the huge 40-megawatt plant in the central Iranian Markazi Province, which they have done. However, now that sanctions are being reimposed by the U.S., Iran sees no reason to continue suppressing their civilian nuclear ambitions.

The Arak reactor announcement follows Iran’s decision on Monday to ramp up enrichment of Uranium to levels beyond the limits set by the JCPOA. Iran points out that they had respected the deal until the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the agreements. 

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