Bushehr Power Plant

While, after Jeffrey Goldberg’s lengthy article last week, a heated debate at The Atlantic currently discusses pros and cons of bombing Iran and its nuclear facilities, and former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton warns that Israel and the US are going to miss an almost historical chance to destroy the Bushehr light water reactor before it is loaded with fuel provided by Russia years ago, Iran’s sole leader in all domestic and international matters, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has made yesterday clear that the country will not engage in any talks with the USA under threats and sanction. Snubbing once more his president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Khamenei said,

“On one hand they threaten us and impose sanctions and show an iron hand, and on the other hand they want us at the negotiating table. We do not consider this as negotiations.

“Experience has shown that when they cannot answer logic, they bully… we will not budge under pressures and we will respond to these pressures in our own way.”

Bombing the Bushehr reactor is a particularly stupid suggestion, as Juan Cole wrote yesterday. The 1,000 megawatt Bushehr reactor should even be considered a confidence-building measure of the Iranians as it is highly unlikely that this nuclear plant, closely inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, can be misused for any illicit military purposes. Russia provides, according to the agreement for 10 years, low-enriched uranium, and spent fuel will be taken back to Russia. Even former president G. W. Bush had endorsed the deal in 2007 since it considerably reduced Iran’s demands for its own enrichment program. That Iran continues enrichment has much to do with the numerous delays in the construction of the power plant which was originally scheduled to be completed in 1999. Russia, which had agreed to construct the reactor in 1995, also needs to build confidence here.  

That Khamenei, on the eve of one of the country’s greatest nuclear triumphs after decades of backlashes, won’t signal the Obama administration that Iran is willing to buckle under threats and sanctions does certainly not come as a surprise.

It’s amazing that they have not even learned the basic lessons how to deal with the Iranians.


Last update August 19, 2010.

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