Iran’s Only Nuclear Power Plant Goes Into Unexplained ‘Emergency Shutdown’
Iran’s only nuclear power plant has gone into an unexplained ’emergency shutdown,’ and could result in power outages.
This is understood to be the first time that Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant, located in the southern port city of Bushehr, since it went online in 2011 with Russian assistance.
The shutdown was announced during a talk show which aired Sunday, June 20, on Iran’s state news channel.
As per AP, Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, an official from state electric company Tavanir, stated the shutdown began on Saturday, June 19, and was expected to last ‘for three to four days’. Rakhshanimehr also warned that the shutdown could result in power outages.
This news comes as high profile diplomats announced that progress had been made at talks held between Iran and other global powers on Sunday.
These talks were held with the intention of restoring a 2015 agreement between Iran and six other countries to keep Iranian nuclear development contained. Under this agreement, Iran would stop some nuclear work in exchange for the lifting of economically damaging sanctions.
The landmark agreement was later abandoned under Donald Trump’s administration, which made the decision to reinstate sanctions. Since then, the agreement has been close to collapse and Iran has restarted prohibited nuclear development.
Earlier that same day, Tavanir gave a statement revealing the Bushehr nuclear plant would be undergoing repairs, which would be underway until Friday, but no further details were given.
President Joe Biden has previously expressed a desire for the US to re-join the aforementioned agreement, however it isn’t quite that simple.
Iran’s incoming President Ebrahim Raisi has made it clear that his foreign policy approach would not be limited by the negotiations made by his predecessor, per BBC News, telling reporters last week:
We will not allow negotiations to be for negotiations’ sake. Negotiations should not be dragged out but each sitting should bear results. A result-oriented [negotiation] is important to us and it should have an outcome for the Iranian nation.
President Raisi has requested that the US return to the deal with immediate effect, while lifting the sanctions that have damaged Iran’s economy. He also made it clear that he wouldn’t be meeting with President Biden should his administration go through with this.
In March, nuclear official Mahmoud Jafari said the Bushehr plant might stop working as Iran would be unable to procure parts and equipment from Russia on account of the banking sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
Bushehr is understood to be fuelled by Russian produced uranium, with the plant monitored by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency.
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