Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

New Bushehr Nuke Scandal

The Bushehr NPP
by Pyotr Goncharov
RIA Novosti political commentator
Moscow (RIA Novosti) April 09, 2007
Another scandal is unfolding around the Bushehr nuclear power plant, or NPP, which Russia is building in Iran. Atomstroyexport, Russia's nuclear-technologies exporter, announced its decision to delay the NPP's commissioning because of a lack of funding from Iran, which means a delay in nuclear fuel supplies to the country.

Some analysts have already referred to the project as a bargaining chip that may help Moscow win concessions from the United States on NATO's eastward expansion and the Kosovo problem, allow Russia to expand its presence on the European energy market and enter the World Trade Organization, and persuade the United States to abolish the Jackson-Vanik amendment.

Moreover, Russia will receive guaranteed compensation for lost profits when it leaves the Iranian market.

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to approve Resolution 1747 imposing tougher sanctions on Iran, and gave it 60 days to come to terms with the International Atomic Energy Authority. Atomstroyexport has announced that the construction cycle will be delayed by at least two months if the required equipment is supplied by third countries.

This is a lucky coincidence. Now the Bushehr NPP will start receiving enriched uranium -- if Iran pays on time -- only after the Security Council approves a new resolution on Tehran.

This coincidence may be viewed as a handshake between Moscow and Washington. But it may also be seen as a no-less-neat deal between Moscow and Tehran.

During his visit to Tehran last December, Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Rosatom, the Russian Nuclear Agency, warned Iran in no uncertain terms that the completion of the Bushehr project directly depended on timely funding and supplies of equipment from third countries. Tehran failed to pay in full in January and February, but resumed funding a day after the Security Council passed the said resolution. This was no accident. The resumed payments are only part of Iran's financial commitments under the project.

Why would Iran wish to delay the project's completion? What if Tehran's indignation over the delay and Kiriyenko's angry references to Iran's chronic lack of funding are nothing more than a well-orchestrated show? Fuel will be delivered to Bushehr six months prior to the plant's commissioning. Now that the United States has deployed a powerful carrier-based attack group to the Persian Gulf -- very close to Bushehr -- isn't it better to hold off on the supplies of enriched uranium, the part of the deal that irritates Washington most of all?

There is yet another potential scenario. Tehran is indignant at Russia's decision not to supply the uranium in March. At the same time, it has not paid in full for the preparations for the NPP's commissioning. The question is where to load the fuel if the plant is not ready to accept it. Maybe into the 3,000 centrifuges that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised the world to start operating by the Iranian New Year, which was March 21?

The Bushehr NPP has long ceased being a strictly business project, and Iran is largely to blame for that. The sides concluded a contract on the project's completion in January 1995, but it was only in November 2003 that Moscow persuaded Iran to sign a bilateral agreement on the return of nuclear waste, in accordance with international practice. Even so, Iran agreed to sign it only after Moscow affirmed that it did not see any obstacles to cooperation with Iran in nuclear energy.

The issue of nuclear waste is significant. International observers have reason to doubt Iran's intention to return the waste to Russia. Moscow will have to make a difficult choice on fuel supplies, and not without looking to the Security Council. Considering the temperamental character of the Iranian president, nobody can guarantee that he will not call the intergovernmental protocol on returning nuclear fuel a "torn piece of paper," as he dubbed the U.N. Security Council's two last resolutions on Iran.

(Pyotr Goncharov is a political commentator at RIA Novosti news agency in Moscow. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of the agency. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti.)

Source: United Press International

Email This Article

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Iran frees British sailors after 13-day crisis
Tehran (AFP) April 4, 2007
Iran released 15 British sailors on Wednesday as a "gift" to the people of Britain in a dramatic end to a two-week ordeal that had triggered a new diplomatic crisis between Tehran and the West.

  • Top US Defense Policy Maker For Asia Quits
  • US Military Chief Given Unprecedented Access In China
  • Indian Plans Naval Wargames With China, Japan, Russia, US
  • EU Dreams Of Common Army

  • New Bushehr Nuke Scandal
  • Iran frees British sailors after 13-day crisis
  • China Doubts North Korea Will Meet Nuke Deadline
  • Boeing Logs Five Years Of On-Time ICBM Guidance Replacement Program Deliveries

  • Raytheon Awarded Contract To Produce Missile Launchers For US Navy
  • Netfires Precision Attack Missile Launch Paves The Way For Complete System Testing
  • India Says Air-To-Air Missile Tested And BrahMos To Be Deployed
  • System Monitors Health Of New Composite Military Missiles

  • THAAD Goes Another ABM Test
  • Japan Deploys Its Own Patriots
  • US To Pursue Missile Shield With Or Without Moscow's Nod
  • GBIs Unaffected By June Rains

  • Nondestructive Testing Keeps Bagram Aircraft Flying
  • New FAA Oceanic Air Traffic System Designed By Lockheed Martin Fully Operational
  • NASA Seeks New Research Proposals
  • Germans Urged To Give Foreign Travel A Rest To Curb Global Warming

  • Thales Conducts Research Into Mine Warfare For French Defence Procurement Agency
  • Insitu Selects RTI For Unmanned Air-Vehicle Products
  • Northrop Grumman Provides 24/7 Service To Navy Unmanned Systems Customers
  • Northrop Grumman Gets 287 Million Dollar Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Systems Contract

  • Iraq Deployment Extensions
  • Bush Delays Also Slowed Down War Funding
  • 360 Lines Of Retreat Across Eden
  • Petraeus Looks To Vietnam Act 2 For Policy Direction In Iraq

  • Boeing Tests First SBInet Mobile Sensor Tower
  • Northrop Grumman Wins Deal For Ground-Air Task Oriented Radar
  • Textron Systems Achieves Success In US Army Tests Of FCS Technologies
  • LockMart And Gibbs Tech Develop High Speed Amphibious Military Vehicles

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement