With Iranian and Russian engineers loading fuel into Iran's first
nuclear power plant at Bushehr on Saturday, Israel expressed
astonishment at how a country that completely thumbs its nose at the
world regarding its nuclear program will be able to enjoy the benefits
of nuclear energy.
Iran's Bushehr success'Israel has days
to strike Bushehr'
"It is totally unacceptable that a country that blatantly violates
decisions of the United Nations Security Council and the International
Atomic Energy Agency, and ignores its commitment to the
Non-Proliferation Treaty charter, will enjoy the fruits of using nuclear
energy," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy said.
"The international community," he added, "must increase pressure on
Iran, so that it will obey international decisions, halt its activity in
the field of enrichment and construction of heavy water reactors, and
will fully reply to the accusations raised against it."
The Foreign Ministry was pointedly making no reference to the Russian
involvement in the reactor, an apparent effort not to say anything that
could in any way complicate Israel's relations with Moscow.
US State Department said Saturday that they do not consider Iran's
Bushehr nuclear power facility a proliferation risk, AFP reported.
“We recognize that the Bushehr reactor is designed to provide
nuclear power and do not view it as a proliferation risk,” State
Department spokesman Darby Holladay told AFP on Saturday.
added that if Iran's nuclear activities are meant for peaceful
purposes, as Teheran has claimed, than the new Bushehr fuel reactor
would eliminate Iran's need to continue enriching uranium.
opening of the Bushehr plant took place on Saturday, Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Qatari newspaper Al-Shark
that if the Islamic Republic's nuclear
facilities were attacked, the response from Teheran would be "worldwide"
in its scope.
"Our possibilities would be limitless and would
encompass the whole world," said Ahmadinejad.
discussed Israel, stating that the Jewish state would like to attack
Iran but understands that the Islamic Republic is a "fortress that
cannot be destroyed" and that the Iranian response to such an attack
would be "harsh and painful."
"I don't believe their American
masters would let them attack," Ahamadinejad added on Israel.
weeklong operation to load uranium fuel into the reactor at the Bushehr
power plant is the first step in starting up a facility the US once
hoped to prevent because of fears over Teheran's nuclear ambitions.Opening
of facility hailed as triumph over sanctions
all pressure, sanctions and hardships imposed by Western nations, we
are now witnessing the startup of the largest symbol of Iran's peaceful
nuclear activities," Iranian Vice President and nuclear chief Ali Akbar
Salehi told reporters inside the plant.
Russia, which helped
finish building the plant, has pledged to safeguard the site and prevent
spent nuclear fuel from being shifted to a possible weapons program.
After years of delaying its completion, Moscow says it believes the
Bushehr project is essential for persuading Iran to cooperate with
international efforts to ensure Iran does not develop the bomb.
United States, while no longer formally objecting to the plant,
disagrees and says Iran should not be rewarded while it continues to
defy UN demands to halt enrichment of uranium, a process used to produce
fuel for power plants but which can also be used in weapons production.
Saturday, a first truckload of fuel was taken from a storage site to a
fuel "pool" inside the reactor building. Over the next 10 days, 163 fuel
assemblies — equal to 80 tons of uranium fuel — will be moved inside
the building and then into the reactor core.
Workers in white lab
coats and helmets led reporters on a tour of the cavernous facility.
will be another two months before the 1,000-megawatt light-water
reactor is pumping electricity to Iranian cities.
Iran denies an
intention to develop nuclear weapons, saying it only wants to generate
power with a network of nuclear plants it plans to build.Russians
to retrieve spent fuel which can be used to make nuclear weapons
Bushehr plant is not considered a proliferation risk because the terms
of the deal commit the Iranians to allowing the Russians to retrieve all
used reactor fuel for reprocessing. Spent fuel contains plutonium,
which can be used to make atomic weapons. Additionally, Iran has said
that International Atomic Energy Agency experts will be able to verify
that none of the fresh fuel or waste is diverted.
concern to the West, however, are Iran's stated plans to build 10 new
uranium enrichment sites inside protected mountain strongholds. Iran
said recently it will begin construction on the first one in March in
defiance of the UN sanctions.
Nationwide celebrations were
planned for Saturday's fuel loading at Bushehr.
"I thank the
Russian government and nation, which cooperated with the great Iranian
nation and registered their name in Islamic Iran's golden history,"
Salehi said. "Today is a historic day and will be remembered in
He spoke at a news conference inside the plant with the
head of Russia's state-run nuclear corporation, Sergei Kiriyenko, who
said Russia was always committed to the project.
to the Bushehr nuclear power plant has started," Kiriyenko said.