IRAN-NUCLEAR-POLITICSMembers of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), responsible for monitoring Iran‘s nuclear power programme, have reported damages to the nuclear power reactor in Bushehr caused by recent earthquakes.

Doubts about the safety of the Iranian nuclear power plant persist, despite the reassurance of the officials that no damages are found. The neighbouring countries, especially Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, express their major concerns as the proximity to the Persian Gulf coast where the plant is located is only a few hundred kilometres.

Iran is the only country with a nuclear power programme, which has not signed the 75-nation nuclear safety convention, created after the Chernobyl incident in 1986. The country has also refused to stop their nuclear power production, which made it become a subject of U.N. sanctions.

Major earthquakes were reported in April and May this year. These are considered to be the main reason for the cracks that have been observed by the reporting diplomats.

Because the report has not been officially released, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s chief delegate to the IAEA, could escape the questions by stating that he has not been informed.

Although IAEA recommended expert inspection of the power plant after the earthquakes, no such actions have been taken.

Iran is located in an active plate-tectonic zone between the Arabian plate and the Eurasian plate. In the past few decades, there have been at least nine major earthquakes detected in Iran, which have led to major destruction of infrastructure and loss of thousands of lives.

Following the disaster in Fukushima, , the concerns related to nuclear safety have increased since 2011. Earthquakes can result in cracks of the vessels that keep radioactivity inside reactors, and damage cooling systems.

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