Iran unveils plans for new nuclear site

Iranian Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani announced plans to construct a new nuclear reactor in the country, weeks after Tehran and Washington reached a tentative deal to curb the country's nuclear ambitions. 

The second reactor will be located at the country's nuclear facility in Bushehr province, along the country's southeast coastline near Shiraz, according to reports by the state-run Fars news agency. 


The first nuclear reactor at the Bushehr facility was built in 1985, with Russian support. That reactor came fully on line last August, according to the report. 

“Our first nuclear power plant is active in the [Bushehr] province which will develop, God willing,” Rouhani said in a speech to provincial leaders on Saturday. 

“Based on our estimates, the second nuclear power plant will be built in the same province and I hope that we can use the facilities of this province,” Rouhani said at the time. 

Tehran will not be obligated to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency access to the second reactor, since notification is only required six months before nuclear material is brought into the facility. 

“We are not obliged to introduce to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the nuclear facilities that we are to build in the future," Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday. 

Only after that three-month window "we will inform the IAEA of them,” Salehi added. 

News of the new reactor comes weeks after U.S. and Iranian negotiators agreed to a six-month deal calling on Iran to stop enriching uranium above 5 percent for six months, dilute half of the 20 percent enriched uranium, and stop upgrading various enrichment facilities.

In return, the Obama White House agreed to lift sanctions on Iran's petrochemical, precious metals and auto sectors.

The deal has been met with harsh criticism from Capitol Hill, who are calling for tougher sanctions to curtail Iran's nuclear enrichment program. 

Senators who are advocating for tougher sanctions say they are planning to push the sanctions measure as an amendment to the fiscal year 2014 defense bill. 

Defense hawks have expressed skepticism that Iran is serious about making concessions to its nuclear program in order get painful sanctions already in place lifted.