Iran Increases her Nuclear Horn: Daniel 8

Iran's new nuclear power plant will be located near its western border with Iraq, state media says. (AP PHOTO)
Iran’s new nuclear power plant will be located near its western border with Iraq, state media says. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Construction begins on Iran nuclear plant

Staff WritersSat, 3 December 2022 3:39PM

Iran has begun construction on a new nuclear power plant in the country’s southwest, state TV has announced, amid tensions with the US over sweeping sanctions imposed after Washington pulled out of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Saturday’s announcement also comes as Iran has been rocked by nationwide anti-government protests that began after the death of a young woman in police custody and have challenged the country’s theocratic government.

The new 300-megawatt plant, known as Karoon, will take eight years to build and cost around $US2 billion ($A2.9 billion), the country’s state television and radio agency reported. The plant will be located in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province, near its western border with Iraq, it said.

The construction site’s inauguration ceremony was attended by Mohammed Eslami, head of Iran’s civilian Atomic Energy Organisation, who first unveiled construction plans for Karoon in April.

Iran has one nuclear power plant at its southern port of Bushehr that went online in 2011 with help from Russia, but also several underground nuclear facilities.

The announcement of Karoon’s construction came less than two weeks after Iran said it had begun producing enriched uranium at 60 per cent purity at the country’s underground Fordo nuclear facility.

The move is seen as a significant addition to the country’s nuclear program.

Enrichment to 60 per cent purity is one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90 per cent. Non-proliferation experts have warned in recent months that Iran now has enough 60 per cent-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least one nuclear bomb.

The move was condemned by Germany, France and Britain, the three Western European nations that remain in the Iran nuclear deal. Recent attempts to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, have stalled.

Since September, Iran has been roiled by nationwide protests that have come to mark one of the greatest challenges to its theocracy since the chaotic years after its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The protests were sparked when Mahsa Amini, 22, died in custody on September 16, three days after her arrest by Iran’s morality police for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

Iran’s government insists Amini was not mistreated, but her family says her body showed bruises and other signs of beating after she was detained

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