Russia in talks to build more nuclear plants in Iran: report
TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Russia has put forward “proposals” to build new nuclear power plants in Iran after the completion of the Bushehr project, local media reported Sunday quoting the Islamic republic’s atomic chief.
“We have held negotiations with the Russians regarding the construction of new nuclear power plants. They have put forward some proposals,” Fereydoon Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying by Resalat newspaper. “The exchange of ideas and proposals will continue until a clear result is reached,” Abbasi Davani added.
Russia has built Iran’s only nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr against the backdrop of a series of delays, with Tehran hoping to link the facility to the national grid in late August. Abbasi Davani meanwhile insisted that any future deals with Moscow would be clinched “in a manner that would safeguard the interests of both parties.” He did not give details about the number of future power plants or their locations.
He also did not specify whether the proposals were made during talks with Russian officials earlier this week in Tehran on how to resume negotiations between Iran and world powers on the country’s controversial nuclear program. Also, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was in Moscow earlier this week to discuss a Russian proposal aimed at solving a stalemate in the talks.
Iran, the oil cartel OPEC’s number two oil exporter, has repeatedly denied allegations that its nuclear plans have a military dimension amid fears in the West that Tehran seeks to develop an atomic weapons capability. Officials in Tehran contend they are only after civilian energy. In recent years, the Islamic republic has announced its intentions to build research nuclear reactors and uranium enrichment facilities as well as 10 to 20 nuclear power plants to eventually generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity. But it is yet to make public concrete plans to construct atomic power plants besides Bushehr, whose fuel must be provided by Russia.
In 2007 Iran sought international bids to build two new nuclear plants alongside Bushehr, and later announced plans to revive an old project in Darkhoin in the southwestern province of Khuzestan near the border with Iraq. Like Bushehr, Darkhoin is a project whose original plans date back to before the 1979 Islamic revolution. There has been no development on the project since then.
Iran is under four UN Security Council sanctions and unilateral measures imposed by the United States and the European Union over its refusal to abandon its uranium enrichment program, a process that can be used to make both nuclear fuel and the highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb.