Following are excerpts from an interview with Mohammad Sa'idi, International Affairs Deputy in the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, which aired on the Iranian News Channel (IRINN) on August 26, 2006.
Mohammad Sa'idi: About a year and a half ago, we completed the assembly stage of the [Arab Heavy Water] Facility, and began the test-run stage. Since this is a hi-tech project with highly complex technology, we had to conduct all the necessary experiments at the test-run stage, in order to make sure that we are capable of producing pure heavy water. The test-run stage of this project lasted about a year and four months. Praise God, we have managed to bring the project to a fully operational stage, and to produce heavy water at a concentration of 99.8 percent. This project is of great importance for us, because we have two tracks of nuclear technology. The first track consists of enrichment and light water reactors, which operate on [nuclear] fuel at a concentration of 3.5 to 5 percent. The second track of nuclear technology consists of the construction of heavy water facilities, heavy water reactors for the production of electricity, and heavy water research reactors, for the production of various isotopes to be used for medicine, agriculture, and nuclear... and industry.
I can say with certainty that with regard to heavy water production, we have now become fully self-sufficient. It should be noted that the plant that was activated, and that was inaugurated by the honorable president, has no reference anywhere abroad. As you know, the establishment of industrial plants requires a reference abroad. In other words, it requires copying the plants from other countries, and building them in our country. I am pleased to say that this plant and these facilities are unique to Iran. We can develop this technology more extensively in our country. Today, praise God, we are one of nine countries in the world that have this industrial plant.