China, Russia to Help Iran Build New Nuclear Facilities

The Iran nuclear deal calls on Tehran’s negotiating partners to help develop its civil nuclear program, and longstanding allies Russia and China have wasted little time in offering to do so.


The head of Iran’s atomic energy organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Tuesday that Iran plans to move ahead with the construction of two new nuclear power plants, with the help of China, and two others with Russian assistance.


Tehran Times quoted him as saying the matter would be discussed further during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which begins on Friday. Xi will be the first world leader to visit Iran since the nuclear deal’s “implementation day” on Jan. 16, and the first Chinese leader to travel to Tehran in 14 years.


Even before implementation day, there were indications Russia would begin help shortly on two other nuclear plants, in line with an agreement first struck in late 2014. Salehi described those facilities as 1,000-megawatt nuclear plants, the Fars news agency reported.


Russia in 2013 completed work on a 1,000-megawatt reactor in the southern Iranian port of Bushehr – Iran’s first – and has pledged to help expand Iran’s nuclear program with up to eight new facilities.


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