Israel has only mere days to launch an attack on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear
reactor if Russia makes good on its plan to deliver fuel there this
weekend, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton warned Tuesday.
He said that once Russia has loaded the fuel into the reactor -- slated
for Saturday – Israel would no longer be willing to strike for fear of
triggering widespread radiation in an attack.
“This is a very, very big victory for Iran,” Bolton told The Jerusalem Post. “This is a huge threshold.”
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin decided it was safe to go ahead
and load Iran's first nuclear reactor with fuel on Aug. 21 - effectively
making it active - after the Kremlin's weekend announcement of this
intent seemed not to trouble the US and Israel, debkafile's sources in
Moscow and Tehran report. He decided the two governments had either been
caught flatfooted or come to terms with a Russian-sponsored nuclear
project that would allow Iran to produce weapons-grade plutonium.
The impression Russian officials tried to convey that the reactor would only go on stream in late September was meant to deflect US or Israeli pressure, which in the event was not forthcoming.
Monday, Aug. 16, therefore, Moscow further announced that Sergei
Kirienko, the head of the Russian state nuclearcorporation Rosatom,
would visit Bushehr Friday, Aug. 20, to see for himself how far the work
on the 1,200-1,300 MWe reactor had progressed. He expects to be
accompanied by Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko.