Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday that Russia, not content with defying the West as it invaded the Crimea, has now made a preliminary agreement with Iran to build two more Iranian nuclear power plants. This will help blunt the effect of the West’s sanctions on Iran, as the deal entails as much as 500,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude being sent to Russia, which would boost Iran’s crude exports by 50%.
Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi stated, “Iran and Russia reached a preliminary agreement to build at least two new nuclear power plants.” He added that a final deal will be signed “very soon.” The new 1,000 megawatt plants will join the existing nuclear power plant in the Iranian port city of Bushehr,
There is concern in neighboring countries that the plants could cause radioactive leaks because Iran is earthquake-prone, as it stands on several major fault lines. On April 9, a 6.1-magnitude quake occurred whose epicenter lay just 60 miles from Bushehr. There is additional concern among Western powers and Israel that the power plants may be involved with Iran’s desire to build nuclear weapons.
Russian officials will not comment on the issue, but did say they would not break UN sanctions.