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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Iran's N-plant to start in September

Iran's first nuclear power plant located on the shores of the Gulf could come online as early as September, it emerged yesterday.
Director General of the Iranian Foreign Ministry's Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), Dr Seyed Rasoul Mousvi, said he sees "no further delays" in the plant going on stream and producing its first power in the next four months.
"The Russians, who are setting up the plant, have said they have all they need," he said.
"It is only a matter of time."
Mr Mousvi was speaking to the Press at the end of the two-day International Conference on Nuclear Technologies in the Service of the Arab Society, at the Crowne Plaza's Bahrain Conference Centre.
"We have all the sanctions from international bodies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," he added.
He also dismissed safety fears expressed by countries in the region, including Bahrain, and said the plant would first be verified by the IAEA.
"The safety of the plant is for the IAEA to decide," he said.
"If they think it is safe, it is. There should be no more debate on that. It is proven technology that is tried and tested."
He also argued Iran had no reason to set up and operate an unsafe facility - saying it had received unfair criticism for its nuclear power programme.
"Are we not going to suffer the consequences as well if we have something that is going to harm our brothers in the region?" he asked.
Meanwhile, Mr Mousvi said Iran was committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which aims to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons.
"Our commitment to the NPT will not change," he said. "We will stay in NPT."
He also reiterated Iran's claims that its nuclear ambitions were solely for peaceful purposes, despite claims by the US that Iran was seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
"We have repeated it many times and I stress it again here," he said.
"The IAEA is aware that all the uranium we enrich is of less than 5pc purity and they are also aware that anything less than that can never be used for nuclear weapons.
"It has not happened. Our enrichment is for our power plant."
However, he added the country was determined to develop its nuclear technology.
"Iran will never accept anything which prevents it from exercising its right to pursue the nuclear option," he said.
He added that IAEA president Mohammad Al Baradei had also said none of Iran's uranium was being diverted for military use.
"Does the world not believe him?" he asked.
"What else do we have to do?"
However, he claimed there were at least 45 other countries that the IAEA had said it did not know "everything about" - saying many of these were in Europe.
"Why single out Iran when we have declared what we have and it is open to inspection?" he asked.
Mr Mousvi also spoke about a religious fatwa (order) against the use of nuclear technology for military purposes.
"When there is such a directive, we follow that," he said.
"That is our system."
He claimed nuclear weapons in Iran would be more dangerous to Russia than the US or Israel for strategic reasons.
"Yet, only the Americans are making a whole lot of noise," he said.
"It is all political."
"We have spoken about all other renewable sources of energy and nuclear energy is one of those.
"We are working on hydropower, solar power and other sources as well. We have a right to do what we want for our own future."
(Source: Gulf Daily News)

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