Daily Revolt

December 17, 2007

Russia Makes 1st Nuke Shipment to Iran

This is another reason why military conflict with Iran would be disastrous. It could mean involving Russia:
Russia has made its first shipment of nuclear fuel to an Iranian nuclear power plant at the center of the international tensions over Tehran's atomic program, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Iran contends its plant in the southern city of Bushehr is strictly for civilian purposes, but the project concerns the United States and others who fear Tehran could use it to advance efforts to build nuclear weapons.

Russia is building the Bushehr plant — construction that has been frequently delayed. Officials said the delays were due to payment disputes, but many observers suggested Russia also was unhappy with Iran's resistance to international pressure to make its nuclear program more open and to assure the international community that it was not developing nuclear arms.

Russia announced last week that its construction disputes with Iran had been resolved and said fuel deliveries would begin about a half year before Bushehr was expected to go into service.

[...]Officials at Atomstroyexport, the Russian contractor for Bushehr, raised the prospect last week of creating a Russian-Iranian joint venture "to ensure security" at the Bushehr plant, according to the RIA-Novosti agency.

That could indicate Russian interest in ensuring that enriched uranium at the plant is not stolen or diverted. Depleted fuel rods also could be reprocessed into plutonium.

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