TEHRAN (Iran News) – President Hassan Rouhani says Iran has started constructing two new nuclear power plants in cooperation with Russia, praising the close relations that the two sides have forged in various fields, especially defense, besides the energy sector.
At the inauguration ceremony of projects belonging to the Energy Ministry via video conference on Thursday, Rouhani expressed gratitude to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for his endeavors to consolidate political and economic relations between the two countries.
Before issuing the order to start the construction of 1400-mgw Sirik Power Plant in southern Hormozgan province, Rouhani said the project, which is also joined by Russia, is of great importance due to the “friendly and close” ties between Iran and its northern neighbor, the Russian Federation.
He referred to the construction of two nuclear power plants in a joint project with Russia and said, “We have good relations with Russia in military and defense areas, which saw a boost after the imports of the S-300 [missile system] from Russia.”
“Over the past eight years, the relations between the two countries have developed in various areas. In this regard, I thank Mr. Valdimi Putin, the honorable president of Russia, for all his efforts during this period in the political, economic and regional dimension,” he said.
“Iran and Russia have had very important cooperation in the field of Syria and significant trilateral partnership in the field of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. We also have very good cooperation regarding Eurasia with Russia and member states. Concerning the legal regime of the Caspian Sea, we have taken very important steps with friendly countries, including Russia.”
The Iranian chief executive further highlighted military and defense ties with Russia as well as the construction of the two nuclear power plants.
“Our relations with Russia have broadened compared to the past. Also in these days, efforts are being made with Russia to revive the JCPOA. So, the development of ties with the important neighbor, Russia, will be in the interest of the two nations and certainly benefits the region and global issues,” Rouhani said, referring to the 2015 nuclear deal by the acronym of its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
He also referred to the agreement between Tehran and Moscow on the implementation of joint projects, including power plants and railways in Iran.
Iran and Russia, both subject to Western sanctions, enjoy cordial relations in different sectors.
Meanwhile some media outlets claimed Russia is preparing to supply Iran with an advanced satellite system that will give Tehran an unprecedented ability to track potential military targets across the Middle East and beyond, according to current and former U.S. and Middle Eastern officials briefed on details of the arrangement.
The plan would deliver to the Iranians a Russian-made Kanopus-V satellite equipped with a high-resolution camera that would greatly enhance Iran’s spying capabilities, allowing continuous monitoring of facilities ranging from Persian Gulf oil refineries and Israeli military bases to Iraqi barracks that house U.S. troops, the officials said. The launch could happen within months, they said.
While the Kanopus-V is marketed for civilian use, Iranian military officials have been heavily involved in the acquisition, and leaders of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have made multiple trips to Russia since 2018 to help negotiate the terms of the agreement, the officials said. As recently as this spring, Russian experts traveled to Iran to help train ground crews that would operate the satellite from a newly built facility near the northern city of Karaj, the officials said.
Details of the agreement were described by a current and a former U.S. official as well as a senior Middle Eastern government official briefed on the sale. The three officials spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing sensitivities surrounding ongoing intelligence collection efforts. The Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow did not respond to an email request for comment.