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    In this Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 file photo, a part of Arak heavy water nuclear facilities is seen, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. Iranian state television reported on Saturday, April, 19, 2014 that Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi has said a dispute between world powers and the country over its heavy water reactor at Arak has been “virtually resolved.” Iran and world powers are negotiating the terms of a permanent deal over its contested nuclear program

    Iran Expects UK to Play 'Crucial Role' in Reactor Upgrade as Nuke Deal in Limbo

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    Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi made the statement while meeting with a British delegation during the IAEA annual summit. Earlier, he promised that Tehran would come out stronger should the 2015 nuke deal collapse in the wake of Donald Trump's withdrawal from it.

    Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said on Wednesday that Tehran expects the UK to play a major role in rebuilding the Arak heavy water reactor, Mehr News Agency reported.

    The statement came at a meeting with a UK delegation on the sidelines of the 62nd Annual Regular Session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna.

    Salehi has also called on the UK to encourage its small and medium-sized businesses to tap into Iran and waive student and faculty exchange programs.

    READ MORE: Iran Says Riyadh, UAE Have Turned OPEC Into US ‘Tool’

    UK representative Robin Grimes reaffirmed his country's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and stressed that the UK had agreed to replace the US in the working group tasked with redesigning and modernizing the Arak heavy water reactor.

    Last week, Salehi said in an interview with AP that his country's nuclear program would come out stronger than where it was before the JCPOA if the nuclear deal collapsed, claiming that Donald Trump's decision to scrap the agreement put him "on the loser's side" of history.

    Under the 2015 nuke deal that Iran signed with China, France, Russia, the UK, the US, Germany, and the EU, it agreed to redesign the 40-megawatt Arak research reactor to prevent the facility from producing and reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium.

    Donald Trump's unilateral decision to withdraw from the landmark agreement, which had curtailed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for a relief from economic sanctions, pushed the deal to the brink of collapse in May. The US president described the JCPOA as "ineffective" and said it was "rotten" at its core, while announcing renewed sanctions on Tehran and companies doing business with it. The move has caused a setback among European investors from the Iranian market and has been widely criticized by the remaining signatories.

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    Tags:
    heavy water, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), nuclear deal, IAEA, Donald Trump, Ali Akbar Salehi, Arak, Iran
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