Vladimir Putin boldly stated at a Kremlin
news conference on Feb.. 1 " “We think that the
people of Iran should have access to modern technologies,
including nuclear ones.” What are Russia's contributions
to Iran's nuclear program?
provided Iran, or is in the process of providing, six
nuclear reactors, including a facility at Bushehr that
can be used for uranium enrichment, and is leasing
Iran the reactor-grade uranium for the Bushehr 1 reactor.
On February 27, 2005, Iran and Russia signed
an agreement to supply 70 tons of the needed nuclear
fuel for the Bushehr
facility. Under the terms of the aggreement,
Russia would provide nuclear fuel to Iran, who would
in turn return the spent fuel back to Russia.
While this provision limits Iran's use of the spent
fuel, if Iran were to renounce the agreement with Russia,
reactor could produce a quarter ton of plutonium per
year, which is enough for at least 30 atomic bombs.
Putin has also successfully lobbied for an exemption
in the UN resolution on Iran for materials, equipment,
technology used at Bushehr 1 reactor. This exemption
could allow Iran to convert the lightly-enriched fuel
in the light-water nuclear reactor into weapon-grade
235. It need only remove fuel rods from Bushehr,
then extracting their pellets, and feed this enriched
uranium into its centrifuges. The centrifuges
could then produce weapon-grade U-235 in less than 2
month. (Iran could keep the operation secret by
substituting dummy rods for those it removed from the