Russia’s nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko said Thursday that Tehran is interested in purchasing more Russian-built reactors.
Russian and Iranian officials have discussed building more reactors in the past, but Kiriyenko’s latest statement comes amid Western calls for sanctions on Tehran over the IAEA report released Tuesday that details suspected nuclear weapons-related advances.
It also comes amid swirling speculation in the international media about a potential Israeli – or Western – strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Ali Bagheri, deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said Thursday he did not believe Israel would carry out a strike on Tehran's nuclear facilities – but Iran has nonetheless continued moving its nuclear materials and operations into underground bunkers.
Bagheri also warned of genocidal retaliation in the event a strike was carried ot in Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“If the Zionist regime allows this mistake to happen, then this will probably be not just an issue of Israel’s legitimacy but its sheer existence,” he told reporters.
Russia, which has made billions of dollars by exporting nuclear technology to Tehran, has firmly rejected universal sanctions on Iran and criticized the IAEA report. The report, Moscow says, reduces the chances of a diplomatic solution to the Islamic Republic's nuclear stare-down with the West.
"We have serious doubts about the justification for steps to reveal contents of the report to a broad public, primarily because it is precisely now that certain chances for the renewal of dialogue between the 'sextet' of international mediators and Tehran have begun to appear," the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Observers say reports of Iran seeking to build more reactors in the wake of the IAEA report could be a ruse intended for use as a lever in any talks Tehran may hold with the West on its nuclear program.
Tehran is currently struggling under four rounds of sanctions from Western nations.