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Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad at the Arak heavy-water plant (file photo) (epa)
November 18, 2006 -- The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization says Iran will complete a heavy-water nuclear reactor it is building, with or without the help of the UN nuclear watchdog.
Gholam Reza Aghazadeh also said that the four-decades-old light-water reactor in Tehran will be shut down only after the heavy-water reactor at Arak becomes operational in 2009.
Iran is seeking technical assistance from the International Atomic Energy Agency to complete the heavy-water reactor it is building in Arak, southeast of Tehran. Iran says the plant would make isotopes for medical and other peaceful purposes.
Heavy-water reactors can be used to produce plutonium to make atomic bombs, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly urged Iran to abandon the Arak project.