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Russia says continues cooperation with Iran at Bushehr power plant despite US bans

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russia has affirmed its resolve to keep up cooperation with Iran at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, defying illegal US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Speaking at a news briefing in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova hailed the construction of the Bushehr power plant as “the Russian flagship project in Iran.”

She also noted that although US sanctions create problems for business ties with Iran, Russia “was not standing idle.”

Moscow, she added, is developing measures — jointly with Tehran — to protect bilateral economic relations from the American bans.

The Russian-built 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr, southern Iran, started operating in 2011 and reached its full capacity the following year.

In 2014, Russia signed a cooperation contract with Iran to help build the second and third Bushehr reactors, which are scheduled for launch in 2024 and 2026, respectively.

In 2015, Iran signed a nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. Washington, however, left the accord last May, leaving the future of the historic accord in limbo.

Elsewhere in her remarks, Zakharova said that the 28 June meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA in Vienna focused on the impacts of US sanctions on the reconstruction of the Arak heavy water reactor in central Iran.

China and Britain expressed their willingness to reconstruct the Arak reactor and Russia undertook the conversion of the Fordow enrichment facility.

Since its unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, Washington has imposed a wide range of sanctions against Tehran, notably targeting its energy sector.

The other JCPOA parties, however, have stayed in the nuclear agreement and have been holding meetings with Iran to discuss how they can make the pact properly work for the Iranian side as well.

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