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You're reading: Russia says Iran’s nuclear power plant fully operational

MOSCOW - Iran's first atomic power plant, a symbol of what the Islamic Republic says is its peaceful nuclear ambition, is now operating at full capacity, Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom said on Friday.

The Russian-built 1,000-megawatt reactor near the Gulf city
of Bushehr, was plugged into Iran’s national grid last
September, ending years of delays and suspicions that Moscow was
using the project as a diplomatic lever.

Oil-rich Iran says electricity generation is the main
motivation for nuclear work that its adversaries say is really
aimed at getting atomic weapons capability.

However, the Bushehr plant is not considered a major
proliferation threat by nuclear inspectors whose concern is
focused on sites where Iran enriches nuclear fuel, in defiance
of U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding it stop.

Bushehr was started by Germany’s Siemens before the 1979
Islamic Revolution and was taken over by Russian engineers in
the 1990s.

The United States for years urged Russia to abandon the
project, fearing it could help Tehran develop nuclear weapons.

Those concerns were eased by an agreement under which
Russia will supply enriched uranium for the reactor and
repatriate spent fuel that could be reprocessed into
weapons-grade plutonium.

Russia sees Iran as a counterweight to U.S. clout but is a
partner of the United States and four other powers in efforts to
rein in Tehran’s nuclear activities.

The U.N. nuclear agency said this week that Iran, in just a
few months, had doubled the number of uranium enrichment
centrifuges it has in an underground bunker, showing Tehran
continued to expand its nuclear programme despite Western
sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack.

Russia has warned Israel and the United States against
attacking Iran and said it opposes pressuring Tehran with
further sanctions beyond the measures approved in four U.N.
Security Council resolutions, the most recent in 2010.

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