On Sunday, November 10, Tehran launched the construction of a second reactor for the nuclear power plant in Bushehr in south-western Iran, said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
The Islamic republic says that the project is one of the reasons it needs more enriched uranium than is allowed by the nuclear deal it made with the world powers.
“It was not us who started breaking commitments,” remarked Salehi, blaming the United States for failing to accept the nuclear deal as a “one-way roadmap”.
The new reactor will output 1 gigawatt of power, and should be completed by 2025.
The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is one of the largest Russian-Iranian projects. The ceremony on November 10 in honor of the new reactor was attended by Alexander Lokshin, First Deputy Director General for Operations Management at Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation.
The Iranian nuclear power plant uses uranium produced in Russia, a process which is overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, Iran claims to have started enriching uranium up to 4.5%, exceeding the figure of 3.67% stipulated in the nuclear deal, in order to supply the Bushehr facility.
In 2015, the US, France, the UK, Russia, China, Germany and Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. According to the agreement, in exchange for Tehran discontinuing its nuclear weapons program, the US, EU and UN Security Council were supposed to gradually lift their sanctions on the Islamic republic. In 2018, the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal, and has subsequently imposed additional sanctions on Iran. In response, Iran has gradually stopped meeting its commitments according to the nuclear deal.