Russia reached a deal on Tuesday to construct up to eight nuclear power reactors in Iran, expanding the nuclear partnership between the two countries.
Two reactors are to be built first, possibly followed by an additional six, according to various news reports.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran, and Sergey Kirienko, the head of the Russian company Rosatom, signed the agreement to build the new reactors in Moscow during a televised ceremony at Rosatom headquarters, reports The New York Times.
“It is the turning point in the relations between our countries,” said Salehi during the ceremony, according to the Tass news agency.
“The building of eight reactor blocks in Iran is a big project expanding our cooperation for decades to come,” he added.
Rosatom asserted that the International Atomic Energy Agency will supervise the construction and fuel handling associated with the reactors.
“The agreement signed with Iran on Tuesday envisions sharing some reactor technology with Iran. The two new reactors, and possibly two more at [Russian-built] Bushehr [in Iran], would be imported from Russia, but after that, further reactors would be built in Iran with Russian assistance,” the Times reports, citing a statement from the Russian company.
“All would use Russian fuel, even the Iranian-built ones,” adds the article.
Rosatom has not provided a schedule for the planned construction of the new reactors.
The deal comes just days before the November 24 deadline for a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program being discussed by six world powers — the United States, the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China
That deadline may be extended, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The six global powers were in the midst of discussing Iran’s nuclear program in Oman when the pact to build the new reactors came to light.
“We are continuing the cooperation with Iran in the civilian nuclear sphere, in building new reactors to generate electricity,” said Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov, reports The Wall Street Journal.
He noted “that the fuel would be produced in Russia and reprocessed there over the entire life of the plants,” notes the Journal.
Ryabkov said he is “reasonably optimistic” that the six nations will reach a deal at the talks in Oman, BBC reports.