Russia to start building «two nuclear plants» in Iran next week

Russia will begin building "two nuclear power plants" in Iran next week, a senior Iranian atomic energy official was quoted as saying on Tuesday by Iran's Mehr news agency.

Iran's nuclear industry has grown with foreign collaboration, Behrouz Kamalvandi, deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was quoted as saying.

Last year Russia clinched a deal with Iran to build an additional two reactors at Iran's first civilian nuclear power plant, which Russia helped build, near the south-western city of Bushehr. Russia turned over operational control of that plant in 2013.

Russia's Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said Tuesday that his country was considering lending 5 billion dollars to Iran next year.

"We're talking about providing a state credit, under the guarantee of the Iranian government," Manturov said, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

Preliminary documents for lending 5 billion dollars to Iran via an intergovernmental export credit were signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran in late November.

"The Eurasian Economic Union [a bloc of post-Soviet states] will start examining the possibility of creating a free-trade zone with Iran. We will intensify industrial cooperation as well," Putin said November 23 during talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

"Russia is ready to allocate a state export credit of 5 billion dollars for this purpose," Putin added, according to a Kremlin transcript. "About 35 priority projects in energy, construction, marine terminals, electricity generation, railways, and other areas have been selected."

A senior Russian defence industry official said last month that the country would send an undisclosed number of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran.

Russia and Iran signed a contract to deliver several S-300 systems in 2007, but Russia nixed the deal because of UN sanctions against supplying weapons to the Islamic republic.

Last update: Tue, 22/12/2015 - 17:21
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