Report: Obama administration cool with Iran plan to build two new nuclear plants

by WorldTribune Staff, August 14, 2016

The Obama administration’s conclusion that Iran’s construction of two new nuclear power plants fall within the terms of last year’s nuclear agreement is “downright dangerous,” Sen. Ted Cruz charged.

A State Department official told the Washington Free Beacon that Iran “is allowed to move forward with this venture under the nuclear agreement, which does not prohibit this type of nuclear construction.”

President Hassan Rouhani visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant. /Iranian Presidency Office via AP
President Hassan Rouhani visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant. /Iranian Presidency Office via AP

Cruz, a top critic of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), told the Free Beacon that “nothing in the behavior of the Iranian regime in the year since the JCPOA went into effect should give us any confidence that they will be confining their nuclear program to peaceful activities. Secretary Kerry seems to think that the mullahs are interested in curing cancer and civilian energy production, but their rapid progress in ballistic missile technology suggests they are far more determined to develop the nuclear weapons these projectiles are designed to deliver.”

“This is just the most recent confirmation of how misguided, shortsighted, and downright dangerous the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic truly is,” Cruz added.

Ali Salehi, Iran’s top nuclear official, announced on Aug. 11 that Iran has invested $10 billion into the construction of two new nuclear plants after receiving orders from President Hassan Rouhani, according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled media.

Salehi also said Iran would continue to produce excess heavy water, a nuclear byproduct that can provide the material for a nuclear weapon, the Free Beacon reported, adding that the United States is committed to purchasing more than 30 tons of the material from Iran “in order to keep it in line with restrictions imposed by the nuclear deal.”

“Iran’s heavy water production surplus is currently on a sale agenda and our nuclear industry is functioning well,” Salehi said.

A senior congressional adviser told the Free Beacon that Obama “seems committed to making Iran into a nuclear power. They’ve purchased heavy water from the Iranians, as if the Iranians were legitimate nuclear suppliers, which they’re not. They’ve made excuses for Iran seeking to procure nuclear parts from Germany and elsewhere. And now they’re celebrating Iran building full-blown reactors.”

“All of this is the exact opposite of what they promised Congress, and for good reason, since Congress is committed to ensuring Iran never gets the infrastructure to be a screw turn away from a nuke,” the adviser said.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican, told the Free Beacon that the White House appears more concerned about bending over backwards for Iran.

“While the Iranians complain that the U.S. is not allowing enough investment into Iran, when investments do occur, Teheran continues to focus on its nuclear program. The Iranian regime’s priorities are clear,” Pompeo said. “The Ayatollah is more concerned with strengthening Iran’s nuclear infrastructure than providing for the Iranian people. Unfortunately, President Obama’s failed nuclear deal with Iran does little to protect the United States from an eventual Iranian nuclear weapon.”

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