Roger L. Simon

Bushehr - an alternative perspecitve

I have been spending my days in DC unable to blog (obviously) but I did hear something about the Bushehr reactor that may beI have of interest. I have no idea of its reliability, but it presents an alternative (perhaps even supplementary) perspective to the news currently being trumpeted on Drudge (from the NYT) – Russia Gives Iran Ultimatum on Enrichment. According to my source, an Iranian living in the US for many years, the design of the reactor is a German/U.S. type, not a Russian type. The Russians were always ill-equipped to finish it. As Elaine Sciolino writes in the NYT:

The Bushehr nuclear project has a long history. For more than a decade, Russia has been working under a $1 billion contract to complete the ambitious project, which was begun with Germany during the time of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. After the 1979 Iranian revolution, the project was halted; then the site was bombed by Iraq during its eight-year war with Iran. When Iran decided to complete the facility after the war ended, Germany, under pressure from the United States, refused to finish the project or even provide Moscow with the original blueprints.

The project — already eight years behind schedule — is now almost complete. Last year, Russia agreed to ship low-enriched fuel to the plant in southern Iran by March 2007 and open the facility in September, with electricity generation to start by November.

But in mid-February, Russia contended that Iran had not made the two last $25 million monthly payments, after insisting that it be allowed to pay in euros instead of dollars. Russian officials also cited a delay in the delivery of safety equipment from an unspecified third country as a secondary reason for the decision.

The Iranians say they have paid… Hmm…. Could the Iranian have been played. Interesting to speculate about. Meanwhile, where’s Asgari?