Iraq war fails to deter progress on Iran's Russian-built nuclear reactor

by Geo-Strategy

April 2, 2003

The U.S.-led war in Iraq has not impacted Iran's efforts to build the Bushehr nuclear reactor, located some 300 kilometers from the Iraqi border.

More than 1,000 Russian engineers and technicians working on the project, which is valued at $800 million. Moscow plans to begin operating the first unit in December 2004.

Russian officials said Iran has insisted construction continue despite the Iraq war. Iran does not believe the United States or Israel will use the war to strike the Persian Gulf nuclear facility.

Russia has agreed to continue working on the project. Officials said that over the last few months Russia has shipped a large amount of material and equipment for the facility.

Russian Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Andrei Malyshev also discounted the prospect of a U.S. military operation on Bushehr.

The deputy minister pointed out that Bushehr is well protected by the Iranian military. Earlier this month, foreign reporters invited for a tour of Bushehr counted 10 anti-aircraft batteries around the facility.

The Iraqi air force targeted the nuclear facility five times during the 1980-88 war against Iran. But officials discount an attack from Iraq at this time.

Still, at least five Iraqi missiles have landed in Iran since the U.S.-led war began last month. Teheran has dismissed the missile landings as accidents stemming from the war. But some Iranian officials have expressed concern that Iraqi forces ordered the attacks in an attempt to widen the conflict.


Geostrategy-Direct,, April 8, 2003
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