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21 Aug, 2010 10:36

“Iranian uranium is not a problem for international community”

Iran is launching its first ever nuclear power plant at Bushehr. The reactor is being loaded under strict control of the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

The fact that Iran is starting its own nuclear facility has drawn enormous attention from foreign countries. Seyed Mohammad Morandi, a professor of politics at Tehran University, believes that it is only UN which has issues with Iran – not the whole international community.

“[The launch of Iran’s first nuclear power plant] is very important because it is an issue of sovereignty, and foreign powers, especially the United Sates, have been very much opposed to the building of this nuclear reactor since the beginning of the revolution,” Morandi told RT. “So the Iranians were adamant that this should go forward. After all, the Iranians have a policy of diversification; they are diversifying from oil and gas. Wind farms have been built throughout the country and you also see solar energy being used here in Tehran, as well as in other parts of the country. This is a part of a larger process to move away from oil and gas to be able to export more oil and gas to create a stronger economy. And also, because in the long run the Iranians know that… oil and gas will not last, they will be needing nuclear energy.”

“If you look at the past few years you will see that the international community has had no problem at all with Iran’s nuclear program,” the scientist stated. “At the recent conference in New York on the NPT had a declaration in which Israel, for example, was named but Iran was not, despite American objections. The problem really is the UN Security Council and the fact that Western countries have hegemony over that council, and they effectively force the Russians and the Chinese to bow down and to accept their demands.”

John Large, independent nuclear scientist from London, believes that the risk to nonproliferation is still high.

“Importantly, the proliferation issues are primarily with the training, the peripheral equipment and the management systems,” Large told RT. “The problem becomes all of this relies upon the strength of agreement between these two states – Iran, on one hand, and the Russian Federation on the other. And that’s where the weakness could possibly be, that Iran could actually leave that contract when it has sufficient confidence to say that they no longer depend upon Russia to provide the nuclear fuel for this reactor, [that they] can make it [themselves] using enriched uranium from [Natanz enrichment facility], and fuel fabrication facilities at Esfahan.”

According to University of Tehran Politics Professor Foad Izadi, the opening of the Bushehr power plant is an important event for Iranians.

“This is a very special day. Iranian people have been waiting for this day for over 30 years,” he said. “Iran is moving towards industrialization. It is fully industrializing. It is an important country, it is a powerful country, it can defend itself. The nuclear power plant is the latest achievement Iran has had with the help of Russia in this regard.”

Anton Khlopkov, Russian political analyst and director of Moscow-based think-tank Center for Energy and Security Studies, thinks that the current situation is very important for improving the climate around the Iranian nuclear issue.

“I think now it will be much easier for P5+1 to persuade Iran that we are ready to cooperate with Iran in the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” Khlopkov said. “I think Russia did a lot to improve the situation around the so-called Iranian nuclear crisis. So, I think now it’s time for Iran to persuade other countries that their nuclear intentions are really peaceful. I think it’s time for Iran to move from declaration but to practical steps to reach an agreement about its nuclear program.”

“Russia does have concerns with regard to some Iranian nuclear studies and the transparency of these studies and Russia raises these questions during bilateral [meetings],” the analyst added.