Immediately following the implementation of an international nuclear deal aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear abilities, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced Tuesday in Tehran that it plans to build two new nuclear power plants.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of AEOI, told Fars, an Iranian news agency, “Construction of two 1000-MW power plants will start soon.” He added, “We will build two other small power plants too in cooperation with China.”
However, it should come as no surprise. As recently as late December – shortly before the anticipated implementation of the deal – AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi announced Tehran would also be teaming up with Moscow to create small power plants, saying, “We are in talks with the Russians to start the job as soon as possible after the New Year holidays.”
This announcement comes less than a week after Implementation Day, on which the Obama administration officially fulfilled the terms of the landmark nuclear deal with Iran. Under the historic deal, Iran will limit its nuclear weapons development. Included in this scaleback is the shipping out of 25,000 pounds of enriched uranium and the dismantling of elements of its nuclear program.
In exchange, Iran will benefit from over $100 billion in overseas frozen assets. It has wasted no time putting this money into use. On Monday of this week, Iran entered contract talks to buy 114 Airbus planes, a purchase worth over $7 billion, JNI reported. That same day, the European Union also began the process of lifting sanctions.
Opponents of the deal argue that the money flowing back into Iranian hands will be used solely for terrorism, such as purchasing weapons and paying off families of terrorists.
Agreeing with this suspicion, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “What is clear is that Iran will now have more means to turn to its terrorist activity and aggression in the region and the world.”
Netanyahu reiterated on Monday that Israel will continue to keep a close watch on Iran, stating, “Israel’s policy was and continues to remain exactly as it was, not to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.” He also urged the international community to reenact sanctions against Iran in light of any action by Iran that violates the international agreement on its nuclear enrichment program.
Even if building the nuclear plants does not violate the terms of the agreement in word, the Iranians are certainly rejecting the spirit of the deal, though they say that the plants will be used only to generate electricity.