Iran says it is in talks with Russia to build nuclear power plants


Tehran: Iran is in talks with Russia on building two new units at its only nuclear power plant, the Islamic Republic’s Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday.

“Negotiations are underway between Tehran and Moscow to build the second and third units of the Bushehr power station,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI).

The move was “in line with the Islamic Republic’s plans to produce at least 10,000 megawatts of electricity using nuclear energy”, he said, quoted on the government’s website.

The announcement coincides with ongoing talks in Vienna aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers including Russia.

Parties to the deal that gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program saw it as the best way to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear bomb – a goal it has always denied.

The United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord and began imposing sanctions on Iran in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, prompting Tehran to begin rolling back its commitments under the OK.

Moscow built the Bushehr plant, equipped with a 1,000 MW reactor, and delivered it in September 2013 after years of delay.

Kamalvandi said the project was being implemented “without delay”, despite the delays in payment.

Financial problems

The announcement comes immediately after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s two-day visit to Moscow, during which he said Tehran had “no limits to expand its ties with Russia”.

Iran has large reserves of oil and natural gas, but it hopes to eventually build 20 nuclear power plants to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

In late December, AEOI deputy director Mahmoud Jafari said there was a two-year delay in building new units due to “financial problems”.

In Geneva, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he discussed Iran with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday, warning there was only a brief window to complete talks aimed at save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Blinken told reporters the deal was an example of how Moscow and Washington can work together on security issues, urging Russia to use its influence and relationship with Iran to impress Tehran’s sense of security. ’emergency.

Blinken said there was still a window to revert to the deal – which fell apart since 2018 when then-US President Donald Trump scrapped it – but warned nuclear advances continue of Tehran would prevent any return to the agreement if a new pact was not concluded in the coming weeks.

“Talks with Iran on a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA (2015 agreement) have reached a decisive moment,” Blinken said.

“If an agreement is not reached within the next few weeks, Iran’s continued nuclear progress will make a return to the JCPOA impossible. But at present, there is still a window, brief, to conclude these talks and address the remaining concerns of all parties.

His comments came as a senior European Union official said nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna were moving in the right direction and a final deal could be within reach.

“My assessment is that we are on track for a final agreement,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, referring to “small” progress on a number of issues.

“My concern, more than on the merits, is the timing. Here I have the impression that we are going too slowly. It would be an incredible mistake if, due to timing, we didn’t get a good solution,” the official said without giving further details.

“Still, I think we will have an agreement… and I think it will be sooner rather than later.”

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