Iran launched a new stage at its Arak heavy water reactor by starting up the facility’s secondary circuit amid pressure from the United States.

Although the move doesn’t violate the 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions lifted under it, along with enacting new financial penalties against Iran, it is one step closer towards the regime’s goal of acquiring a nuclear bomb.

“The Arak heavy water nuclear reactor … consists of two circuits,” explained the Mehr news agency.

“The first circuit is tasked with removing heat from the heart of the reactor, and the secondary circuit is responsible for transferring the heat from the first circuit to cooling towers and finally to the outside environment,” it added.

Heavy water can be used to create a nuclear weapon.

Under the 2015 agreement, Iran was permitted to produce a limited quantity of heavy water.

Despite withdrawing the United States from the nuclear accord, the Trump administration has repeatedly extended sanctions waivers to allow civilian nuclear research at Arak and the Bushehr facility. Last week, it officially revoked the waiver to allow research at Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility.

Republicans, including in the U.S. Senate, have called on the administration to end all the sanctions waivers.

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