The Iranian regime began construction of four more nuclear power plants in the south of the countrywith an expected total capacity of 5,000 megawattsthe official news agency reported on Thursday IRNA.
Iran seeks to produce 20,000 megawatts of nuclear energy for 2041.
The country has an active nuclear power planta 1,000-megawatt plant that came online with help from Russia in 2011. It also builds 300 megawatt plant in Khuzestan provincerich in oil, near the western border with Iraq.
IRNA cited Mohammad Eslamihead of Iran’s atomic agency, saying that It will take up to nine years to complete the new plants.
The report states that the four new plants are being built in the port city of Sirik on the east coast of Iran, about 1,150 kilometers south of the capital, Tehran.
Nasser Shariflouproject director, told IRNA that the project It will cost around $20 billion. and will create 4,000 jobs. Each plant is expected to use 35 tons of nuclear fuel per year.
The announcement comes amid growing concerns from the international community over possible military uses of nuclear technology by the regime. The West has long suspected that Iran is acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran denies it is seeking such weapons.
He International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog agency, indicated last year that Iran has increased the rate at which it produces uranium close to that suitable for making nuclear weapons.
The Director General of the IAEA, Mariano Grossi, said in the report that Iran “in recent weeks has increased its production of highly enriched uranium, reversing a previous production reduction from mid-2023,” according to an IAEA spokesperson.
Iran had previously reduced the rate at which it was enriching uranium at 60% puritywhich is only a small technical step away from the 90% weapons grade level.
In mid-January, Grossi also warned that Iran barely cooperates with the IAEA and that the organization feels “hostage” to Tehran’s disputes with Western countries.
“It is a very frustrating situation. “We continue our activities there, but at a minimum”Grossi said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Are restricting cooperation in an unprecedented way”.
He gave as an example the Iran’s rejection of inspectors because of their nationalities.
“It is a way of punishing ourselves for external things”, said. “When there is something that France, United Kingdom either USA They say they don’t like it, it’s as if they took the IAEA hostage to their political disputes with others. “This is unacceptable to us.”
Iran slowed its pace of uranium enrichment last year, seen as a goodwill gesture as informal talks with the United States began. But accelerated enrichment again at the end of 2023.
“Right now there is a plateau, but it could change in the coming days”Grossi said. “You never know”.
The already bad relations between Washington and Tehran have worsened with the conflict between Israel and Hamasand each nation accuses the other of inflaming the situation, further complicating efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
“Diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy, that’s what we need. We have to keep talking, we have to prevent the situation from deteriorating to the point where it is impossible to recover.”
“I would not exclude returning to Iran,” Grossi added.
(With information from AP and AFP)