Visiting Russia today with an eye toward negotiating a nuclear arms reduction treaty, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton instead harangued Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
Secretary Clinton called on Russia’s government to stall the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran until further notice. Russia is constructing the plant, and expects it to be completed this summer.
Clinton conceded that Iran was “entitled” to a civilian energy generation program, but said the US believed it was “premature” to allow them to produce such energy. Lavrov ruled out any delays to the plant’s opening, insisting that Bushehr was a key aspect to Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.
The US has maintained that Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a cover for a weapons program, though its own National Intelligence Estimate insists no weapons program exists. Ironically enough, US concerns about Iran’s stockpile of low enriched uranium being sufficient, if enriched to above 90 percent, to produce a single weapon would be ameliorated considerably if the Bushehr plant opened, as that 3.5 percent enriched uranium stockpile is intended to fuel the plant.