Despite U.S. opposition, Russia plans to build second nuclear power plant in Iran
Russia defended its right to build a second nuclear power plant in Iran and engage in long-term nuclear cooperation with Tehran despite sharp US criticism of an existing project.
The announcement of a new 10-year Iranian nuclear development program surprised analysts and some politicians, coming less than a month after the West agreed a confidence-building 20-billion-dollar aid package for dismantling Russia's weapons of mass destruction.
According to AFP, some noted that Iran may have no intention of buying a second nuclear plant from Russia and read the announcement as an attempt by Moscow to up the stakes and win new Western concessions for ending its nuclear relations with Iran.
Moscow's program said that Russia plans to set up all four reactors at the southern Bushehr plant -- only one has been completed so far -- along with two more 1,000 megawatt blocks in Ahvaz, about 100 kilometers from the border with Iraq.
The Russian document indicated that Moscow wants to "develop a long-term program of cooperation in the sphere of peaceful use of atomic energy" with Iran.
Both the United States and Israel fear that Russian-Iranian nuclear cooperation could enable Tehran to acquire the technology needed to build nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, senior Russia politicians were quick to try and defuse potential tensions over the announcement. "Neither Russia nor the United States is interested in other countries' use of peaceful nuclear technologies for military purposes," said State Duma lower house of parliament foreign affairs committee chairman Dmitry Rogozin. (Albawaba.com)
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