Iran's mullahs are thanking the Obama administration for agreeing to a nuclear deal — and they're showing their appreciation by building a new reactor.
Iran's southern Bushehr province will be the location of a second nuclear reactor constructed this year. Russia has pledged to assist in the building process, the Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.
“The contract for building two [new] power plants has been inked with Russia and the preliminary steps and their designing have already started,” Ali Akbar Salhi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said Monday, the state-controlled Fars News Agency reported.
The State Department told the Free Beacon in January that the construction of light-water nuclear reactors is not prohibited "in general" by U.N. Security Council resolutions.
“Construction of the third power plant will also start two years after the second power plant will be launched,” Salhi added.
Critics of the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran say billions of dollars in sanctions relief will be used to foment terror across the Middle East and undercut U.S. foreign policy. In response to the July 14 deal, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed to defy U.S. diplomacy in the region.
"I don't know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that's his policy," Secretary of State John Kerry said in response, Reuters reported July 21. "But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it's very disturbing, it's very troubling."
President Obama spent Tuesday securing the 41 votes in the U.S. Senate needed to prevent a Republican-backed resolution disapproving of the nuclear deal.
"This agreement with the duplicitous and untrustworthy Iranian regime falls short of what I had envisioned. However, I have decided the alternatives are even more dangerous," said Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, Reuters reported. Wyden joined Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Gary Peters of Michigan in support of the deal.