Iran and Russia sign on to build more nuclear plants at Bushehr

Deal includes two desalination plants and is reportedly in exchange for oil; Russia built first and only reactor at Bushehr.

March 12, 2014 13:57
1 minute read.
Putin and Rouhani at Bushehr

Putin and Rouhani at Bushehr. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON -- Russia has agreed to build Iran two additional nuclear power plants, Iran's state-run Press TV announced on Wednesday.

Russia will construct the new facilities next to Iran's sole existing nuclear power plant in the city of Bushehr.

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That plant was also built with Russian assistance, and was fueled for operation in 2011. The reactor was put under full Iranian control in 2013.

A spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said that months of negotiating with Russia's Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation resulted in the "preliminary agreement." Each plant will offer Iran 1,000 megawatts of power, which will wean the country off its reliance on oil. While Iran is rich in crude oil, the nation has poor refinement capabilities.

Islamic Republic officials claim their nuclear program is peaceful, though world powers suspect possible military dimensions to their work and intentions.

State Department officials could not be reached for comment on whether or not the deal violated international sanctions against Iran, to which Russia is a sponsor.

But on Friday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that US sanctioning of Russia for its armed invasion of Ukraine would not affect unity amongst world powers on Iran and it's controversial nuclear program.

"Russia is not a part of this in supporting it because they're doing it as a favor to the United States," Psaki said. "They have publicly spoken about their concerns about Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. And so we fully expect— and evidence of the last week shows you this— that they will remain an active partner at the negotiating table." Under duress from financial sanctions, Iran is expected to barter with Russia to pay for the new plants— possibly in crude itself.

Oil-for-goods sales between Iran and international parties have been condemned by the United States.

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