Russia, Iran and more nuclear power–bigger triple threat?
Iran has denied it will use nuclear power for making bombs. Last week Iran’s President Rouhani met with six power nations, U.S., Russia, Britain, China, France and Germany regarding Iran’s nuclear program. He said, according to Daily News, Pakistan, that the nuclear power will be used for power generation and medical purposes only.
The six powers want Iran to agree to scale back uranium enrichment and other sensitive nuclear activity and accept more rigorous U.N. inspections to deny it any capability of quickly producing atomic bombs.
Tehran denies having any such underlying ambition, saying its nuclear programme is for power generation and medical purposes only. An interim deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany was reached in November in Geneva, aimed at persuading Iran to curb parts of its nuclear work, in return for a limited easing of sanctions.
Rouhani said an early deal would benefit all but there was “no rush” to finalise the talks. If the deadline was not met, the interim agreement could be extended for another six months, he said. “The signs, the indications that we have been receiving in the past few days, are telling us that it is very likely that we can come to an agreement by the end of July,” he said. To reach a deal by the deadline will require good will on the part of the six countries opposite Iran at the negotiating table.
Russia sits opposite Iran at the negotiating table while preparing to sign a deal to build the reactors for Iran. Conflict of interest? Hmm.
Reported today in Reuters, UK:
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia plans to sign a contract with Iran this year to build two more nuclear reactors at its Bushehr power plant as part of a broader deal for up to eight reactors in the Islamic state, a source close to the negotiations told Reuters on Thursday.
It was not immediately clear how this might affect six global powers’ talks with Iran addressing disputed aspects of its nuclear program. Iran has resisted demands for cuts in its uranium enrichment capacity, pointing to plans for a future network of nuclear power stations.
Western powers want any lasting agreement with Iran to put to rest suspicions that it could develop nuclear weapons-making ability through enrichment. Iran denies any such intent.
The talks ended last week with little progress; they are to resume in Vienna in June.
Russia, one of the six powers, built Iran’s only operating nuclear power reactor, at Bushehr.
“Russia and Iran may sign an intergovernmental agreement this year on building from four to eight nuclear reactors, and, under the deal, the contract for the construction of the first two reactors as additions to Bushehr,” the source said.
Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said earlier it was in talks with Iran on the potential construction of more reactors there but revealed no details. Rosatom officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.
Longstanding Western fears that the Bushehr project could yield spent fuel of use in nuclear weapons – something it denies it is seeking to do – receded after Iran promised to send the material back to Russia.
Moscow voted for four rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran over its contested nuclear activity but has sharply criticized additional measures imposed by the United States and European Union, calling them a hindrance to diplomacy in search of a permanent settlement with Tehran.
As Russia’s contract with Iran progresses, the United States and European Union plus Germany will, no doubt, be “cautiously optimistic” that Iran keeps its word, while being vigilant, abiding by the saying, “Keep your friends close, and your nuclear equipped Middle Eastern neighbors closer.”