Ali Akbar Salehi: But unfortunately, it has been 3 years we have been saying that we didn’t pour cement in the hole of Arak’s heavy water reactor. If we had, Arak’s reactor would have been destroyed.
Host: But you did pour cement in its pipes, right?
Ali Akbar Salehi: Not in the pipes here. We poured cement into calandrias. Calandrias are a series of pipes, and the fuel goes into them. We had bought backups [for the main ones]. But at that time, I couldn’t talk about it. There was only one other person in Iran knew about it: the highest-ranking position in the establishment. No one else knew about it. When our friends were negotiating, we knew that they would eventually break their promises. The supreme leader had said that we should be cautious as they were not going to keep their promises. We had to do our job cleverly. It means that we had to not only not destroy the bridges behind us, but had to make more bridges, so that if we wanted to resume [enrichment], we could do it more rapidly. There were a series of pipe with 2-3 centimeters in diameter and 3-4 meters long. We had bought backups for them as well. They told us to pour cement into those pipes, and we did.
[Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, admits that Iran had bought backup parts for Arak’s heavy water reactor, while Iranian diplomats were having negotiations for the nuclear deal. He says only Iran’s supreme leader knew about it.]