Iran Says It Has Removed Core From Arak Reactor

ANKARA (Reuters) -
FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, an Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan 255 miles (410 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran. State TV says the Guardian Council, Iran's constitutional watchdog, ratified a bill Wednesday, June 24, 2015, banning access to military sites and scientists as Tehran and world powers approach a deadline for reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal. The bill would allow for international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
In this 2007 file photo, an Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan 255 miles south of the capital, Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran has removed the sensitive core of its Arak nuclear reactor and U.N. inspectors will visit the site on Thursday to verify the move crucial to the implementation of Tehran’s atomic agreement with major powers, state media said on Thursday.

“The core vessel of the Arak reactor has been removed … and IAEA inspectors will visit the site to verify it and report it to the IAEA. … We are ready for the implementation day of the deal,” Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said.

Kamalvandi added, “Implementation Day,” when Iran will start to get relief from international sanctions in exchange for curtailing its nuclear program under the July 2015 agreement, would come “very soon.”

Removal of the core from the Arak reactor will largely eliminate its ability to yield nuclear bomb-grade plutonium, and was one of the toughest issues in the long nuclear negotiations between Iran and the powers.

“The core’s holes will be filled with concrete. … The core was initially supposed to be cut into parts but we did not accept it as we want to keep it as the symbol of Iran’s nuclear industry,” Kamalvandi told state media.