Amid burgeoning controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, Fereidoun Abbasi who is head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Sunday that the country is all set to build a new nuclear power plant next year. He was referring to the new Iranian calendar year, running from March 2013 to March 2014. The new nuclear power plant will be of 1,000 megawatt and build in Bushehr. Abbasi was speaking to the Iranian state television where he claimed he claimed to build the new nuclear power plant by early 2014 despite pressure and sanctions from the international community.
A German consortium began work on the Bushehr nuclear power plant back in 1970s but the work was abandoned after the 1979 Islamic revolution in the country. Since then, the project has faced a number of hitches and failed to see the light of day. In mid 1990s, Russia also struck a billion-dollar deal with Tehran to complete the project but it failed owing to certain reasons besides pressure from the international community. Iranian officials still desire to make the nuclear power plant operational as they believe the country can get around 1,000 megawatts electricity from the plant if it operates at its full capacity.
Chief of AEOI has claimed for a number of times the nuclear plant would be operational soon but the matter still continues to linger on owing to a number of known and unknown reasons. Analysts and a number of discerning observers based in the United States believe the country is also using the Bushehr nuclear power plant as a tool to pressurize the international community. They believe the country is also trying to strike a favorable deal with the P5+1 – Russia, United States, China, Britain, France and Germany – by using the Bushehr plant as a bargaining chip.
They also believe the country will not be able to make the plant operational next year as inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been keeping a watchful eye on activities of Iran. The international community is concerned about the nuclear plants of Iran and suspects the country is covertly trying to develop nuclear weapons. The United States and Israel consider the nuclear Iran will be a potential threat to security of the region; therefore they are doing their best to pressure the country to halt operation of its nuclear plants.
The recent quarterly report submitted with the IAEA has further heightened concerns of the international community as enriched uranium level stands at 27 percent; seven percent higher than the previous 20 percent. Iran requires 90 percent purity of fuel to develop nuclear weapons while security and defense experts believe the country can easily reach the level in months if its nuclear plants continue operating unhindered.