Completes Fuel Deliveries to
Iran’s First Nuclear Plant
Novosti) — Russia delivered early on Monday the final batch
of a fuel shipment to the Bushehr nuclear power plant it is
in southern Iran, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear officials said.
With the eighth delivery of five metric tons, Russia has supplied
a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the light-water
nuclear power plant, which has been the focus of international
attention over fears Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
The first delivery to the plant, being built by Russian contractor
Atomstroyexport, arrived on December 16, 2007 following months
of project delays that Moscow attributed to payment arrears,
but which Iran blamed on pressure from Western nations.
Under a bilateral intergovernmental contract, Russia has agreed
to deliver 82 metric tons of nuclear fuel, divided into eight
shipments. Deliveries were monitored by the United Nations nuclear
watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Atomstroyexport confirmed on Friday the final delivery of nuclear
fuel to Bushehr NPP.
"The final, eighth, batch of fuel has been delivered to
the nuclear plant in Bushehr," the company’s spokesperson
Irina Yesipova said.
Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham earlier said
Tehran expects bilateral relations to substantially improve as
a result of the fuel deliveries.
and Iran maintain good, developing relations. The deliveries
of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant
are also a good pretext for boosting cooperation between our
countries," he said.
George W. Bush, who has led international calls for sanctions
against Iran over its refusal
to freeze its nuclear program, said last month
that he supported the start of Russia’s enriched uranium deliveries to the
Islamic Republic, and that Tehran no longer has any excuse to develop its
own enrichment capabilities.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed Bush’s comments
in late December, saying it would not be economically viable
for Iran to continue its uranium enrichment program.
However, Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali-Hamenei insisted
earlier this month that Tehran would continue enriching uranium
for future nuclear power plants.
Western nations fear Iran seeks to produce nuclear weapons,
but Tehran insists it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.
Two sets of UN Security Council sanctions are currently in place
against Tehran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany agreed
on January 22 at talks in Berlin on a draft for new measures
against the Islamic Republic, strengthening two previous rounds
of sanctions but falling short of the punitive steps proposed
by Washington. The draft was circulated on Friday in the Security
Council and may be discussed by the end of this week.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said last Saturday
that Tehran was hoping that the UN Security Council would not
pass new sanctions against the country.
"We hope that the Security Council will not make the wrong
decisions, knowing that there are no grounds for doing so," the
IRNA news agency quoted Mottaki as saying on the sidelines of
an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.
He reiterated that last year the IAEA issued a generally positive
report on Tehran’s cooperativeness with UN inspectors, and a
U.S. intelligence community report stated that the country had
dropped nuclear weapons research several years ago.
Tehran plans to hold tenders for the construction of 19 new
nuclear reactors and to generate 20,000 megawatts of electricity
at its NPPs in the next two decades.
Iran’s Nuclear Program
Beyond Level of Manhattan
In an interview for Newsweek by Lally Weymouth, the Israeli
defense minister said: We think that they [the Iranians]
advanced… working on warheads for ground-to-ground missiles… [and]
that they probably have another clandestine enrichment operation
beyond the one in Natanz.
DEBKAfile: If they are “working on warheads,” this
would indicate that a nuclear weapon is already within reach.
Barak went on to say: “Our interpretation is that clearly
the Iranians are aiming at a nuclear capability. It’s probably
true that… they may have slowed down the weapons group
in 2003 because it was the height of American militarism… We
think that they are quite advanced, much beyond the level of
the Manhattan Project [which developed the atomic bombs dropped
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II].”
Asked if he thought the Americans would fail to take action
as a result of the National Intelligence program, the Israeli
defense minister remarked that it had reduced the chances of
He called for a much deeper and more intimate
cooperation between the US, the EU Russia and China. “This needs a paradigm
shift in the way we approach China and Russia,” he said.
Asked whether Israel is able to conduct a military
raid on Iran alone, Barak said: “I am not going to talk about this.” He
also refused to discuss Israel’s raid on the suspected
Syrian nuclear site on Sept. 6, 2007.
On the rumor going around Washington that Pakistan
is helping Saudi Arabia build a nuclear program, the minister
have no information.”
He added that the real risk with Iran turning nuclear is that
it will be the end of the non-proliferation regime.
A.Q. Khan was ready to sell to sell to anyone,
said Barak, especially if he was a good Muslim. It’s
very dangerous that we will end up in 10 to 15 years with a
nuclear device in the hands of
The interview took place in Davos, Switzerland, and was run
by the Washington Post.