National Security

Russia Will Help ‘Improve’ Iran Centrifuges, Iranian Nuclear Chief Says


Iran’s nuclear chief said Tuesday that Russia is prepared to help "enhance" the country’s uranium-enriching centrifuges.

Iran’s Fars News Agency reported that Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, spoke of Russia’s cooperation following a meeting with the director of Moscow’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, Sergey Kirienko, in Vienna, Austria.

Salehi explained that Russia will help "improve Iran’s centrifuges" as part of the nuclear agreement brokered by Tehran and world powers in July.

"Assistance to enhance the designing of our existing centrifuge machines in a way that they can produce stable isotopes is among the Russians’ undertakings (based on the July 14 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers) and they are among the most powerful and pioneering countries in the world in this field and they have announced their preparedness to cooperate and improve Iran’s centrifuges to produce stable isotopes," Salehi said Tuesday.

Salehi also said that, under the nuclear agreement, Russia will purchase Iran’s enriched uranium and supply Tehran with natural uranium, an exchange he has allegedly already discussed with Russian officials.

This is not the only recent evidence of cooperation between the two countries. Last month, it was reported that Iran would purchase four S-300 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia for $900 million.

Salehi’s announcement Tuesday comes as Russia increases military aid to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a major ally of Iran. The Obama administration, which has backed the Syrian rebels fighting Assad, has warned Russia against increasing its military involvement in Syria. Moscow has insisted that the move is necessary to combat the Islamic State in the region.