Washington: Iran uses Bushehr reactor to promote nuclear weapons program
The United States on Saturday renewed accusations that the Islamic Republic of Iran is using its Bushehr light-water reactor to secretly advance a nuclear weapons program, and called again on Moscow to stop cooperating on the project.
Moreover, Washington dangled the prospect of contracts worth several billion dollars as an incentive for Russia to end such work.
"We believe Iran uses Bushehr as a cover and a pretext for obtaining sensitive technologies to advance its nuclear weapons program," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a written reply to a question posed during a Friday news briefing.
"The recent revelations that Iran has been secretly constructing nuclear-related facilities capable of producing fissile material not needed for Iran's 'peaceful' nuclear energy needs, is but one example of the sustained effort by Iran to cloak the true activities and intentions of its nuclear program," he said.
"Iran's copious oil and natural gas reserves put into question Iran's stated rationale of pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, it currently throws away more energy annually by flaring off natural gas than Bushehr could produce," Boucher said.
"We have underscored to Russia that an end to Russian nuclear assistance to Iran would allow the United States and Russia to reap the full promise of our new strategic relationship, benefiting Russia economically and strategically far more than any short-term gain from construction of additional reactors or other sensitive transfers to Iran," Boucher said.
One benefit could be the transfer of spent nuclear reactor fuel from third countries to Russia for storage. Such transfers require Washington's approval, as some of the fuel originated in the United States, according to AFP.
"If the Russians end their sensitive cooperation with Iran, we have indicated we would be prepared to favorably consider such transfers, an arrangement potentially worth several billion US dollars in revenue to Moscow, " Boucher said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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