Iran Reactor 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israelis should not be concerned about the uranium fueling of a
nuclear reactor in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr that is set to
place on Saturday, diplomatic officials at the Russian Embassy in Tel
The Jerusalem Post.
The reactor’s fueling will be marked at a ceremony in
Bushehr that will be attended by Sergei Kiriyenko, who heads Russia’s
nuclear agency, which has been building the power plant in Iran since
'Israel has days to strike Bushehr'
Iran reactor to be fueled Aug. 21
The fuel that Russia will provide the reactor is expected to
start producing electricity by November. Spent fuel rods from the facility are
to be returned to Russia under monitoring from International Atomic Energy
Agency inspectors to ensure that they are not diverted for military
“The Bushehr power plant is intended for energy for
electricity,” a diplomatic official at the embassy said on Thursday. “From the
beginning, the construction of the Bushehr facility was under strict control of
IAEA inspectors, which we consider a guarantee that everything in Bushehr will
be done according to international law.”
The diplomat said that had
Iran’s nuclear program not been under international control, it could have been
a threat not only to Israel but to the world. But because it is under
international control, it is not a threat to anyone, he said.
have expressed fears about Iran using the fuel rods for military purposes after
expelling international inspectors, but the diplomat said he was not a technical
expert and could not comment about that possibility.
Former US ambassador
to the UN John Bolton warned this week that the IDF had until Saturday
the Bushehr facility, because once Russia loaded fuel into the reactor,
would no longer be willing to strike for fear of triggering widespread
Bolton noted that prime minister Menachem Begin made a point
of authorizing the June 1981 attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor before
loaded with nuclear fuel, to minimize the effects of radiation fallout
reactor’s destruction on the civilian population.
The Russian diplomatic
officials said the attack on the facility at Osirak, 18 km. southeast of
Baghdad, was a violation of international law. They said there was no
basis for that strike, because there was no proof that Iraq was seeking
operate the reactor for military use.
“Israelis must understand the
negative implications of Israel attacking Iran for the region and the
one of the diplomats said. “According to international law, it is
prohibited to strike a facility that possesses nuclear fuel. There is no
international threat to Israel from Bushehr, so there would be no
Israel to bomb it.”
The diplomats said the Iranians were more pragmatic
than Israelis gave them credit for and that they were not interested in a
with the West. They stressed that Russia was fully cooperating with the
round of sanctions placed on Iran by the UN Security Council in June,
refraining from delivering S-300 anti-aircraft missiles that are on the
weapons banned from being transferred to Iran.
“Russia borders Iran,” one
of the diplomats said. “We are much closer to Iran than you are, and we
have an interest in having a threat on our borders, so we don’t believe
[Israelis] have to worry.”
Kiriyenko said at a meeting with Russian Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday that Bushehr would demonstrate that
entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy under international
“It is a most important anchor which keeps Iran within the
regime of non-proliferation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
reporters in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday.
“It is fully
protected from any proliferation risks whatsoever.
This idea is shared by
all the leaders of Western countries.”
The United States is arguing that
the steps toward getting the Bushehr reactor up and running demonstrates
Teheran has no need to enrich uranium.
Many see the fueling as a
dangerous advance in Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
But the US said it does
not view the reactor as a proliferation risk, “because it will be under
safeguards,” according to a State Department official.
The official also
noted that Russia is not only providing the fuel but retrieving the
the material that could be used to produce a nuclear bomb.
support for Bushehr underscores that Iran does not need an indigenous
capability if its intentions are purely peaceful,” the official
“Our views on the Bushehr project should not be confused with the
world’s fundamental concerns with Iran’s overall nuclear intentions,
particularly its pursuit of uranium enrichment, and Iran’s willful
its international obligations,” the official added.Hilary Leila Krieger
in Washington and AP contributed to this report.