Russia is set to sign a deal to build Iran a new nuclear plant, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Sunday, insisting that the site will be used to generate electricity.
According to a report from the Russian news site RiaNovosti, citing the semi-official Iranian news agency Mehr, Salehi said that negotiations on the planned site were nearing a conclusion.
“Iran has held consultations with the Russian side and soon an agreement of mutual understanding will be signed on the construction of a new nuclear power plant,” Salehi said.
Last week Russian parliament speaker Sergei Naryshkin attended newly elected Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s inauguration in Tehran. Naryshkin said Russia and Iran may expand collaboration in civilian nuclear-power engineering after the Bushehr site becomes Iran’s first fully operational nuclear power plant this coming September.
Iran, which has one of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world, says it needs nuclear power to generate electricity.
According to the report, last February Salehi told journalists that Iran intended to build another plant, with Russian aid, at the Bushehr site.
Last June Iran also announced its intention to construct a new nuclear research facility near the town of Zarghan, south of Tehran.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Rouhani next month in Kyrgyzstan, a top aide to the Russian president announced Friday. The two leaders will convene on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit set to take place on September 13 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital and largest city.
Putin and Rouhani will discuss bilateral ties and other policy issues, including Iran’s nuclear program at the upcoming meeting, media reports suggested.
The two men have previously met to discuss Iran’s nuclear policies when Rouhani served as the chief negotiator for Iran’s nuclear program.