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30 Oct, 2014 20:34

Iran prevents sabotage of heavy-water tanks at Arak plant – local press

Iran prevents sabotage of heavy-water tanks at Arak plant – local press

Iran has successfully subverted a plot to sabotage tanks of heavy water to be used in nuclear reactors, a senior official of Iran’s nuclear department told local Arman daily. A "foreign country" is suspected of being behind the attempt.

“Thanks to the full alertness of our colleagues, we were able to detect and defuse the sabotage attempt,” deputy head of Iran’s nuclear department, Asghar Zarean, told the newspaper.

“There were attempts to cause disruption in storage tanks due to carry heavy water. But these attempts were discovered and foiled before the tanks were filled with heavy water at Arak,” he stated, but did not say what he believed to be the intended consequence.

Zarean has not elaborated on who he believes is responsible for the plot, only saying that “a foreign country was behind the attempt.”

While heavy water is not in itself radioactive, it is essential in the operation of nuclear reactors – both those that help with the creation of nuclear power and those which are involved in the creation of nuclear weapons.

“The enemy should know that it cannot take any action against Iran's nuclear activities,” said Zarean. “In fact, Iran is able to find and defuse any sabotage in both hardware and software fields.”

In March, Iranian officials reported on the neutralization of several plots to sabotage the country’s atomic industry, including, like this time, at the 40-megawatt Arak heavy water reactor. The West fears that plutonium – a nuclear bomb fuel – could be produced there.

READ MORE:Iran ‘thwarts sabotage attempts’ at nuclear plant

In June, Iran said it was planning to redesign the Arak reactor to sharply cut its potential output of plutonium.

Iran has been involved in a series of long and drawn-out discussions with high-level Western officials over the status of its nuclear program. The West believes it has been using its civilian atomic energy program as cover for the envelopment of a nuclear weapons program.

Iran has repeatedly and steadfastly denied the charges, saying it needs its capabilities for energy and medicine, and has subsequently accused the West on several occasions of attempting to sabotage its nuclear program.

In 2010, the Stuxnet computer virus temporarily disrupted the operation of hundreds of centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Iran said it was a concerted effort by Israel and the US to undermine its nuclear program.

READ MORE:Iran displays Israeli drone downed near nuclear facility (VIDEO)

Iran is currently in talks with the US, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany over reaching an agreement on its uranium enrichment program. The collective has until November 24 to come to an agreement.