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“Only because of security considerations, we are moving with caution, since enemy intends to harm this reactor,” Mr. Abbasi was quoted by state TV as saying. “All the equipment needed to operate this reactor has been purchased.”

The West is concerned that the heavy water reactor could produce enough plutonium for a nuclear weapon each year, if the spent fuel is reprocessed.

That would be another pathway for bomb-grade material, but Iran is not known to possess a plutonium reprocessing facility.

Iran has seen explosions and malfunctions at its nuclear and industrial sites, partly due to faulty equipment secretly procured on the global market.

Also, Iran says it is the target of a campaign that has included the abduction and assassination of scientists and the planting of a destructive computer worm known as Stuxnet, which briefly brought Iran’s uranium enrichment activity to a halt in 2010.