Sunday, December 30, 2012

Post #382 - Sticky Wickets...

This piece appeared in a Russian outlet aimed at world audiences:

An Iranian lawmaker said that Russian female technicians working at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant aren’t properly adhering to the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code, despite receiving extra pay for compliance. The ISNA news agency quoted MP Mehdi Mousavinejad as saying, “Based on contracts signed with female Russian employees at the Bushehr power plant, they receive a hijab allowance. Unfortunately, they don’t properly observe what [the contracts stipulate]“. He also criticised the authorities for lax oversight of Russian employees. Mousavinejad said that he didn’t know how many female technicians worked at the site or how much they’re paid. Women in Iran, regardless of their nationality or religion, are enjoined to cover up everything but their hands and face.

The station began operating at full capacity on 31 August as the reactor of Bushehr’s Unit 1 was brought up to 100 percent of capacity. Construction of Bushehr began in the 1970s, but was dogged by delays.  Russia signed a billion-dollar deal with Tehran to complete the plant in 1998. The plant’s launch in August 2010 prompted Israel and other nations to express fears the reactor could help Iran create an atomic bomb. Tehran denied the allegations, saying the facility was for peaceful power generation only. The plant was connected to Iran’s power grid in September 2011.
26 December 2012

[Note:  the plant at Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf, was first planned under the reign of the last Shah, with U.S. and German assistance; the project was restarted, with Russian help almost twenty years later.  Construction was completed in 2009, at cost exceeding $1 billion. -- AP]
One commentator, a Russian-American blogger who follows politics in the RF, is betting that the subtext of this piece was to provide an indirect "hands-off" warning -- to signal "that Russian techs are on the site, and that any Israeli/US strike on the facility would involve killing Russians."

Seriously, can we find any way at all to make the nuclear impasse any more complicated and confounding?

I only hope that the missive via the media has the desired effect, and the doomsday clock is set back a few seconds...

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