Bushehr nuclear power plant
Bushehr nuclear power plantReuters

Iran and Russia on Sunday inaugurated a new phase of construction for a second reactor at Iran's sole nuclear power plant in Bushehr, AFP reports.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), and deputy chief of Russia's nuclear agency Rosatom, Alexander Lokshin, launched the new stage at a ceremony where concrete was poured for the reactor base.

Iran's first Russian-built nuclear power plant in Bushehr started operating in Iran in 2011 and reached full capacity the following year.

In 2014, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that his country would build a second nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

Several months later, Iran and Russia signed a deal for Russia to build two more nuclear power plants in Bushehr.

The landmark 2015 nuclear deal Iran signed with six major powers, including Russia, placed restrictions on the sort of nuclear reactor Tehran could develop and its production of nuclear fuel but it did not require Iran to halt its use of nuclear energy for power generation.

"In a long term vision until 2027-2028, when these projects are finished, we will have 3,000 megawatts of nuclear plant-generated electricity," Salehi said at Sunday’s ceremony, according to AFP.

The ceremony comes amid continued tensions between Iran and the West over the 2015 deal.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement last May.

Last week, the Islamic Republic resumed uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow nuclear facility by injecting uranium gas into centrifuges, in violation of the agreement.