Russia to build new nuclear units in Iran

Russia will reportedly begin building two nuclear power plant units in Iran next week under a deal signed in Moscow last year between subsidiaries of the two countries’ state atomic agencies.

A Mehr news agency report quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, who appeared to be referring to extension of the Bushehr nuclear power station, designed and built by Russia.

Iran already runs one Russian-built nuclear reactor at Bushehr, and Russia signed a deal with Iran in November last year to build up to eight more reactors in the country.

The UN nuclear watchdog earlier this month closed a long-running investigation of Iran and issued a report strongly suggesting it pursued a co-ordinated program to devise a nuclear bomb up until 2003, but that there was no credible sign of bomb-related research and development activity beyond 2009.

The Bushehr plant itself was never considered by diplomats and experts to be a serious nuclear proliferation risk.

Other aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme seen as having potential to develop weapons, such as its uranium enrichment activity and a heavy water reactor, will be curbed under a deal Iran reached with big powers in July including Russia.

The Islamic Republic will see international sanctions on its oil-based economy lifted in return.

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