Iran and Russia sign on to build more nuclear plants at Bushehr


Wednesday, March 12, 2014
03/12/2014 13:57

Deal includes two desalination plants and is reportedly in exchange for oil; Russia built first and only reactor at Bushehr.


Putin and Rouhani at Bushehr Photo: REUTERS

Iran and Russia have signed an agreement to build two more nuclear power plants in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr, Iranian Press TV reported on Wednesday.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran officials and Russia's Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation negotiated and came to an agreement about the plants, said the spokesman for the AEOI.

The agreement also includes the construction of two desalination plants.

In February, the Iranian ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei said that Russia could build a second reactor at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant in exchange for Iranian oil.

Reuters reported Iran and Russia were negotiating to swap up to 500,000 barrels of oil per day for goods in the deal that would undermine Western efforts to maintain economic pressure on Tehran while global powers seek to curb its nuclear program.

In addition to the Russia building a second reactor at Bushehr, Sanaei said Tehran was possibly interested in supplies of heavy trucks or their assembly in Iran, and other items.

"Iran is interested in buying a huge amount of railroad tracks from Russia, as well as Russian involvement in the electrification of its railways. We are also interested in Russian grain."

Western nations fear an oil-swap deal would badly hurt efforts to forge a permanent agreement ensuring Iran's nuclear program could not be used to make weapons in exchange for sanctions relief. An interim deal was reached in January.

A top US official said this month she believed the oil-for-goods swap would not go ahead in the near future after the United States warned both sides it would make reaching a nuclear agreement "more difficult if not impossible".

Sanaei dismissed the US concerns and said Russia should do the same, warning that European nations have sent business delegations to Iran and that Moscow risked losing lucrative opportunities if it failed to act fast.

"Our Russian friends, who have stood by us at difficult moments, should have advantages on the Iranian market ... But Russian companies must hurry to get into their niche in our market and not hesitate out of fear of Western sanctions," he said.