Iran will not enrich uranium above 60% purity level: nuclear chief – Other media


In an interview with RIA Novosti, Eslami spoke about Tehran’s progress in nuclear power development, the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities, and the upcoming round of Vienna talks.

Here is the text of the interview:

RIA Novosti: If the parties to the Vienna negotiations do not come to an agreement, the United States will not return to the JCPOA and the sanctions against Iran will not be lifted, will you exceed the uranium enrichment level of 60%?

Eslami: No. All of our objectives in terms of uranium enrichment are to meet our industrial and production needs, as well as the needs of our consumers for the goods that our country and our people need today. All of our atomic activities are carried out within the framework of the agreements, statutes and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

RIA Novosti: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the first power unit at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the only one in the entire Middle East. Did this justify the considerable efforts of Iran and Russia to build and launch the nuclear power plant at the appropriate time? For example, how many barrels of oil did Iran save using this power plant during this period? At what stage is the construction of the second phase of the Bushehr nuclear power plant advanced?

Eslami: The transition to clean energy is a necessity in the modern world, because global warming has led to the fact that climate change has endangered human life. We must therefore move towards renewable energies. However, what Iran has done with Russia (which has been operating in Iran’s Bushehr since 2012), namely the country’s first nuclear power plant, is a huge project. As a result, Iran, at the expense of this nuclear power plant, is feeding around 1,000 megawatts of electricity into the grid and has already generated around 52 billion kilowatts of electricity to date. The amount of electricity we produced is equivalent to saving about 80 million barrels of oil.

The construction and launching of nuclear power plants is one of the main strategies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation, and we will continue to develop this area.

RIA Novosti: To what extent are Western sanctions affecting Iran’s nuclear development program? Is there really such a danger that due to the freezing of Iran’s bank accounts abroad, the work of the nuclear power plant’s first power unit will be suspended? Is this really the case? If so, what exactly is the problem? In this regard, Iran owes Russia $ 500 million for the construction of the second power unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Do you know how and when you can solve this problem?

Eslami: The important thing is that the sanctions are cruel, inhuman and illegal. No logic, no free person can accept the fact that the United States is applying these unjust sanctions against the Iranian people. It is a clear picture of the anti-humanism and the flight from reconciliation that Washington embodies. Naturally, our country has learned the lessons from the sanctions, which is very important. Sanctions hamper our development. Sanctions violate the way of life of our people. Based on this, the capabilities of our people and the potential of our state’s territory, we have built our country to resist these sanctions. Everything we have achieved in these forty years after the revolution (since 1979) has been affected by these sanctions. Yes, our bank accounts are frozen. At the moment, there is no debt to the Russian government for the first power unit of the nuclear power plant.

RIA Novosti: To what extent are the Bushehr nuclear power plant and other nuclear facilities in Iran protected against possible cyberattacks by foreign states? Are Russian cybersecurity specialists helping Tehran in this area?

Eslami: Every country pays great attention to the safety of its nuclear power plants. All our systems are secure, all vulnerabilities are under control, thanks to the measures we have taken. We hope that these heightened security measures against our nuclear infrastructure will disappoint those who attempt to harm them.

RIA Novosti: What work is currently underway on the third unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant? When will construction start?

Eslami: The construction of the second and third power stations is about 23 months behind schedule. We owe a debt to Moscow for these two blocs, their amount has already been determined. We had to almost balance them, given the financial terms we agreed to and the loan we took out to do so.

We had to pay an advance for our 2020, 2021 and 2022 contracts, which we will finance in accordance with the agreements we enter into.

We expect Rosatom to speed up the implementation of the project with an agreed plan to make up for any delays. Block 2 is being concreted and the process of ensuring the solidity of the structure is underway. Regarding the third block, I can say that the ground is being reinforced and now preparations are underway for the concreting of the foundation.

RIA Novosti: You recently said that Iran intends to achieve 8,000 MW capacity in its nuclear power. Are there any talks about building new power plants in cooperation with Moscow? Will these plants be like Bushehr, with high power, or could they be low power nuclear plants? Is the development of such projects a promising path for nuclear power? Can Iran and Russia solve the technical problems linked to the Fordow plant project, where stable (non-radioactive) isotopes were to be produced, which became impossible after the start of the uranium enrichment process?

Eslami: The challenge we face in building new power plants is to achieve 10,000 megawatts of energy. Today our country needs at least 17,000 megawatts of electricity. In this regard, the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is structured in such a way as to maximize the use of renewable energy sources, so that Russia can also participate in this development process with Iran. As Russia has invested in other countries, we are also expecting to invite international investors to participate in the construction of this attractive 10,000 MW project in Iran.

We also have a plan for small power plants with a capacity of up to 300 MW on our agenda. Regarding the Fordow object you mentioned, it’s not a big moment, the important thing is the Khandab object which produces isotopes. Their production is included in our plan and is progressing as planned.

RIA Novosti: When do you think Iran will be able to independently produce nuclear fuel for its nuclear power plants?

Eslami: Iran can already produce nuclear fuel. We have had talks with Rosatom and we hope that as part of our interaction, as well as on the basis of the plans and contracts that we will conclude with them, we can start using Iranian fuel in the reactor itself at Bushehr.

RIA Novosti: If the parties to the Vienna negotiations do not come to an agreement, the United States will not return to the JCPOA and the sanctions against Iran will not be lifted, will you exceed the uranium enrichment level of 60%?

Eslami: No. All of our objectives in terms of uranium enrichment are to meet our industrial and production needs, as well as the needs of our consumers for the goods that our country and our people need today. All of our atomic activities are carried out within the framework of the agreements, statutes and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

RIA Novosti: Why are inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency so thoroughly vetted before entering a nuclear facility? Is it possible that among them are spies and saboteurs misled by countries seeking to attack your nuclear program?

Eslami: When entering an important public establishment, you should not take any items with you. We did not violate the protocols of our inspectors. In this regard, it is quite the opposite – they must comply. They have to follow our rules. Wherever you go in the world, it will be the same everywhere. We respect them according to the same principles and in no case accept inspectors who are employees of foreign intelligence services acting under the guise of agency inspectors.


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