Moscow underscored its intention to maintain nuclear cooperation with Iran yesterday as Acting Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov announced that Russia is prepared to build a nuclear research reactor in Iran. A contract for the new reactor project is awaiting final approval from Iranian authorities. Russia is also, Adamov said, stepping up the pace of construction at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, an $800 million project drawing intense criticism from Washington. (UPI, Itar-Tass, ORT, April 6)
The United States has tried to halt the Bushehr project — without success — saying it could contribute to what Washington says are Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The issue has been a major point of friction between Washington and Moscow, which Adamov’s announcements yesterday seem likely to exacerbate.
Yesterday’s developments also suggest that Adamov’s recent appointment has not altered the ministry’s policy on exporting Russian nuclear technology — at least not to Iran. Viktor Mikhailov, dismissed as Atomic Energy Minister on March 2, was an aggressive marketer of Russian nuclear technology and adamant that Moscow would defy the United States and follow through on the Bushehr deal with Iran. That project calls for Russia to construct one 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor. On March 6, however, a ministry spokesman said that Russia and Iran had reached a preliminary agreement on the construction by Russia of an additional two reactors at the same site. (See Monitor, March 9)
Acting Prime Minister Pushes for Military Reform.