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Iran begins work on Russia-supported nuclear plant

Iran has started constructing a second nuclear plant with Russian help in the city of Bushehr. The move comes more than a year after Tehran struck a deal with six world powers that stops Iran from making a nuclear bomb.

State media Saturday showed Iranian officials and representatives of Russian energy giant Rosatom at launching ceremonies for the project, which will eventually include two nuclear power plants with a total capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts after their completion.

Iran already runs one Russian-built reactor at Bushehr, which went online in 2011. In 2014, Moscow signed a deal with Tehran under which it will build up to eight more nuclear plants in the Middle Eastern country.

"The new plant shows Russia's commitment in relation to the nuclear deal," Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said at the ceremony.

Last year, Iran signed a nuclear deal with world powers limiting its stockpile of substances that could be used to make nuclear weapons. In return, many of the international sanctions on the Shiite country are being lifted.

The UN's nuclear watchdog IAEA says that Tehran has so far complied with the deal.

The Bushehr plant is not considered a risk by the West, as Russia supplies the fuel for the reactor, and also removes spent fuel that could possibly otherwise be used to make plutonium suitable for use in nuclear weapons.

shs/tj (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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