Administration: No sign Iran reneging on deal

The State Department said Wednesday it doesn't believe Iran plans to renege on last weekend's nuclear deal despite controversial comments from that country's foreign minister.

The interim deal requires Iran to dilute its enriched uranium and cease construction of a plutonium reactor, both of which can be used to build a nuclear weapon. Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said Wednesday that “construction will continue” at the Arak heavy-water reactor, a possible violation of the deal.

“Capacity at the Arak site is not going to increase,” Zarif told parliament, according to Iran's English-language Press TV. “It means no new nuclear fuel will be produced and no new installations will be installed, but construction will continue there.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the administration still expects Iran to meet its requirements under the deal despite Zarif's comments.

“The Iranians need fuel to make Arak operational. That is why one of our immediate goals was to halt fuel production related to Arak. Without sufficient fuel production, they cannot start up the reactor,” Psaki told reporters. “If he’s referring to a road here or an out-building there, that’s something different.”

She acknowledged that the administration doesn't have “clarity” about what Zarif was referring to, but that it expects Iran to abide by the deal.

“There are specific requirements and agreements made regarding Arak ... that certainly we have the expectation they will abide by,” she said. “And if they don’t, they would be violating the agreement.”

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