August 16, 2010
Former interim U.N. ambassador and leading neocon John Bolton went on Fox News on Friday and sounded the alarm bells over Russia’s pending delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran’s Bushehr reactor . If Israel plans to attack Bushehr, Bolton said, it must act now because allowing the Russians to load nuclear fuel rods at the site will make Iran “essentially immune from attack by Israel. Because once the rods are in the reactor an attack on the reactor risks spreading radiation in the air, and perhaps into the water of the Persian Gulf.”
“The fuel will be loaded on Aug 21. This is the start of the physical launch” of the reactor, said Sergei Novikov , a spokesman for Rosatom, the Russian Energy State Nuclear Corp. “From that moment the Bushehr plant will be officially considered a nuclear-energy installation.” Russia is currently operating under a $1 billion contract with Iran and has worked for over a decade on the reactor.
As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty  (NPT), Iran has the right to build nuclear reactors for its civil energy needs. Iran has long claimed that its nuclear program is for peaceful power-generation purposes and would help free up oil and gas resources for export, thus generating additional hard-currency revenues.
Bolton and the neocons refuse to accept that the facility will produce nuclear energy and insist it will be used to create nuclear weapons. According to Bolton, once the reactor is operational, it is only a matter of time before it begins producing plutonium that could be used in a nuclear weapon. “And in the normal operation of this reactor, in just a fairly short period of time, you could get substantial amounts of plutonium to use as nuclear weapons,” Bolton told Fox.
As usual, Bolton and the neocons — with the helping hand of Fox News — are only telling part of the story. As Russia notes, the project is under close supervision  by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, Iran has signed a pledge  to ship all the spent uranium fuel from Bushehr back to Russia for reprocessing, thus ruling out the possibility that the uranium could used to manufacture nuclear weapons. Bolton did not mention this during his Fox News interview.
Fox News, which claims to be “fair and balanced,” made it sound like Iran will control the spent uranium from the plant, not Russia, thus providing yet another bogus argument that allows the neocons to push for an attack.
It should be noted that John Bolton does not believe Israel or the Obama administration will move to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the Russians begin to load fuel into the reactor on July 21.