New Nuclear Units Not in Violation of JPOA

New Nuclear Units Not in Violation of JPOA  New Nuclear Units Not in Violation of JPOA

The US State Department said on Saturday Iran has not violated the terms of an interim nuclear agreement it signed with the major powers and the UN Security Council resolutions by planning to construct new light-water reactors in Bushehr.

Jeff Rathke, director of the US State Department's press office, told reporters, "The construction of light-water reactors is not prohibited by the UN Security Council resolutions, nor is it in contradiction to the JPOA," according to a transcript of his remarks which appeared on the State Department's website on Friday.   

Iran and the six major powers (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) clinched a preliminary nuclear deal in Geneva in late 2013, which is officially called the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA). They are now in talks to reach a comprehensive accord to resolve the 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear program by a June 30 target date.

When pressed by reporters wanting to know whether the United States is concerned about such activities, Rathke said, "All I've simply outlined is the Security Council resolutions which have certain requirements and… also the JPOA that in our view the construction of light-water nuclear reactors is not prohibited by those two documents. That's separate from saying whether it's a matter of concern and whether it's an issue of discussion."

Last week, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Director Ali Akbar Salehi announced the timeline for Tehran's plans to build two new nuclear power plant units in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Salehi pointed to an earlier agreement signed with Russia for building two other nuclear units in Bushehr and said, "Bushehr can house four to five power plants. Bushehr Province is turning into an industrial hub and when these two plants will be built there, it can generate 3,000 megawatts of electricity over the next ten years."  

He also said the projects are part of the government's plan to generate 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power as approved by parliament.

Iran already runs one Russian-built reactor in the Bushehr power plant which generates 1,000 megawatts of electricity. The plant, whose construction was delayed for years, was officially launched in September 2011.