Iran is expected to build two new nuclear power plants in the near future, an Iranian official said Saturday.
“The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has put construction of the second and third [nuclear] power stations on its agenda due to the government’s programs and the emphasis laid by… President [Hassan Rouhani],” AEOI Deputy Chief Hossein Khalfi said, according to the Fars News Agency.
During an address at the opening ceremony of the 25th Exhibition of Iran’s Nuclear Industry Achievements, Khalfi said: “We have launched the Bushehr nuclear power plant and handed it over to the country’s experts in the past two months.”
“The country will save around seven million barrels of fossil fuel which amounts to about $700 million if each barrel of oil is priced at $100 after the (full) launch of the Bushehr power plant,” he added.
Iran was handed control over the Bushehr plant from its Russian contractor this past September.
In April, the city where the nuclear plant was built suffered a 6.3 magnitude earthquake which killed over 30 people. Iranian officials insisted the plant was not damaged.
The Iranian announcement came just as world powers in Geneva were trying to finalize a deal with Tehran over its rogue nuclear program Saturday.
The goal is a six-month agreement to partially freeze Iran’s nuclear program while offering Iran incentives through limited sanctions relief. If the interim deal then holds, the parties would negotiate final stage deals to ensure Iran does not build nuclear weapons.
But it was unclear whether the current round, which began Wednesday, would produce any first-stage deal.
The sides have been trying to reconcile Iran’s insistence that it has a right to enrich for peaceful purposes while assuaging fears that Tehran is secretly trying to build a bomb, a charge the Iranians deny.