Russia to build eight nuclear reactors in Iran
Russia has signed a new deal to construct two new nuclear power reactors in Iran with future plans for the construction of up to six more.
Signed by Sergey Kirienko, head of Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom, and Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), the agreements are a clear attempt at forging greater ties between the two nations. The new reactors will be built at Iran’s first Russian-built nuclear power station in Bushehr.
Both countries emphasised that the plans were aimed at promoting the peaceful development of atomic energy. Russia will return any spent fuel for reprocessing and storage, a move aimed at counteracting any concern that Iran may try to use the fuel for the construction of nuclear weapons.
In a statement from Rosatom, it was confirmed that the new reactors will be monitored under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and fully comply with the international non-proliferation programme.
The new deal has no doubt surprised the five other world powers currently attempting to persuade Iran to sign an agreement on the future of its nuclear programme by a 24th November deadline.
The US, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China want Iran to reduce its uranium enrichment to a level that would disable the potential for building a weapon. In exchange they have promised to ease current sanctions.
Iran has repeatedly dismissed international concerns about the validity of its nuclear programme, insisting the programme is not a cover for the development of weapons and is purely for civilian purposes.
Yesterday’s signing with Russia confirms the state is not willing to slow down its atomic energy plans and adds to the uncertainty as to whether an already precarious commitment to a deal with the six nations will actually be achievable by the current deadline.
President Obama has already admitted that the outcome of the final negotiations on sanctions remains uncertain and said in an interview with CBS on Sunday: “There is still a big gap; we may not be able to get there.”