US State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday the implementation day of the nuclear deal is “close.”
A day earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry said his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, had told him the core had been removed and would be filled with concrete and destroyed.
Kirby’s remarks come as the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the calandria of the Arak heavy water reactor has been removed and cemented.
"The core vessel of the Arak reactor has been removed ... and IAEA inspectors will visit the site to verify it and report it to the IAEA," Behrouz Kamalvandi said.
He added that Iran is ready for the implementation day of the deal, stressing that the Western sanctions will be lifted simultaneously.
The removal of the reactor’s core is crucial for the implementation of the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany -- on July 14, 2015 in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Under the agreement, Iran has been recognized by the United Nations as a nuclear power and will continue its uranium enrichment program, but some restrictions will be placed on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions.
Last week, Kerry said the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement might be only "days away," as the Islamic Republic was meeting its commitments.
Kerry told reporters in Washington, DC, on January 7 he had spoken to Foreign Minister Zarif, who promised Tehran would live up to its promises made under the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).