China Poised To Take Leading Role In Iran’s Nuclear Program As Sanctions Are Lifted

China Poised To Take Leading Role In Iran’s Nuclear Program As Sanctions Are Lifted

In the wave of business opportunities that have accompanied the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s Vice-President of its Atomic Energy Organization, Akbar Salehi, confirmed on Friday that China would play “a leading role” in its nuclear program.

Salehi elaborated that China would be heavily involved in the restructuring of the Arak heavy-water reactor to produce considerably less plutonium.

Selahi’s remarks, made as he concluded his meeting with Chinese nuclear specialists and officers in Beijing, again emphasized China’s role in the latest nuclear agreement reached by Iran and the key world powers, as well as the two nations’ close collaboration in energy projects.

As one of the primary elements of the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program with the P5+1 team – comprising Germany, France, the United States, Britain, China, and Russia – Iran has decided to revamp the Arak reactor, which is in its last stage of building, to trim down its annual plutonium output from 10kg to not more than 1kg to “remove the concerns” of its use in a nuclear weapon, Salehi said.

He stated, “China has accepted … a leading role in a working group that would look into the redesign and refurbishing of Arak. Americans will also participate very seriously.”

Salehi met with China Atomic Energy Authority chairman Xu Dazhe and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Under the nuclear agreement structure, a trilateral meeting between the U.S, China and Iran was expected to occur in mid-next month on the sideline of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s general meeting, despite domestic political battling between the Obama administration and congress on the agreement, according to Salehi.

The vice-president of Iran said the nation was also seeking Chinese support to construct a couple of small nuclear reactors with power of 100 megawatts each.

The two parties had discussed the matter “at length” and were expected to seal the agreements “in the coming months”, he revealed. China had “indicated readiness” to fund the projects, he added.

Salehi said Iran would also explore the possibility of constructing bigger nuclear plants, with capacities of 1,000MW each, as the nation aims to construct 20,000MW of nuclear capacity in three decades.

Iran has formally signed deals with Russia to construct a couple of 1,000MW nuclear reactors.

With monetary sanctions on Iran eliminated after the realization of the nuclear agreement, the multibillion-dollar trade connection between Iran and China is set to get bigger.

China is likely to invest more deeply in Iran’s oil, industrial and gas sectors.

Foreign Minister Wang was previously cited by state-controlled Xinhua as saying the agreement “created more favorable conditions for the development of the China-Iran relationship”.

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