In one of the last few steps needed to fully implement their requirements under the P5+1 nuclear deal, the Iranian government has removed the core from the Arak heavy-water reactor and filled it with cement, rendering it useless.
The Arak reactor was the center of a lot of dispute between Iran and the international community. Objections over Iran’s enrichment of uranium for the aging Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) led to the plan for Arak, which was to run on unenriched uranium, as an alternative source of medical isotopes.
Western nations objected to this as well, however, on the grounds that the waste the reactor would produce included plutonium. Though Iran never planned to construct the substantial reprocessing facility to extract this from the waste, and even offered to send all the waste abroad, it remained a sticking point, and ultimately it was agreed that the West would provide Iran with an alternative configuration at Arak which would be more acceptable.
Iran’s atomic energy agency says they believe they will have fully implemented the P5+1 deal within the next seven days, and President Rouhani expressed hope that sanctions relief would quickly follow, as the deal obliges. The Rouhani government has been scrambling to finish the deal, in hopes of getting sanctions relief in place before next month’s election.