Russia will start constructing two nuclear reactors in Iran next week, as Tehran seeks to reduce its reliance on oil and gas with 20 facilities over the coming years, an official said.
The construction comes after Tehran and world powers in July reached a landmark deal that lifts sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbing the country’s nuclear program. The accord does not limit Iran's development of civilian nuclear sites.
One year ago, Tehran signed a contract with Moscow to construct two reactors at the existing Russian-built Bushehr power plant. The two reactors will be financed by Iran. Under a series of agreements signed between the two countries last year, Iran will gain a total of nine Russian-built reactors.
Work on the first two facilities “will commence this week,” state television's website quoted atomic energy agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying.
The two countries also plan to boost trade, as they signed several joint development documents last month during Russian President Vladimir Putin's first visit to Iran in eight years.
Last Monday, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade, Mohammad Reza Nematzade, and his Russian counterpart, Denis Manturov, opened an industrial exhibition in Tehran.
The three-day fair by Russian industrial holding Rostec State Corp, along with hundreds of business leaders, aims to introduce Russian industries to Iran, state television reported on its website. Rostec owns 700 enterprises, organized into 14 holding companies, nine of which are focused on the military.
Russia is “not afraid” of Western economic delegations trying to dominate Iranian markets after the lifting of sanctions, a Rostec official said.
“Everyone is waiting for the sanctions to be lifted and everyone wants to be the first” to enter Iran, International Cooperation Department Chief Victor Kladov told AFP.
“We are afraid of nothing; we are certain of the quality of our products. Iran and Russia have a long history, and we are trusted partners for each other,” he added.