Reuters: Greenpeace will press for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East during a visit to the port where Iran’s first atomic power plant is being built. TEHRAN, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Greenpeace will press for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East during a visit to the port where Iran’s first atomic power plant is being built.
The environmental group’s Rainbow Warrior ship will dock in Iran’s south-western port of Bushehr on Friday, Paul Horsman, Greenpeace coordinator for the peaceful energy campaign in the Middle East, said on Tuesday. The ship will stay a few days.
Iran’s nuclear programme is the centre of a dispute with the West which accuses the Islamic Republic of trying to develop atomic bombs. Tehran insists it wants nuclear power plants for electricity production.
Nearby Arab states have expressed worries about the environmental impact of having a nuclear plant on the shores of the Gulf. Analysts say Iran’s plans have also encouraged those Gulf Arab states to consider their own civil atomic programmes.
“The main issue we are talking about here is a proposal for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East,” Horsman said in Iran ahead of the ship’s arrival.
“What we are talking about is the need to engage a debate about the different energy choices for the region.”
The Rainbow Warrior’s regional tour includes Gulf Arab states which, like Iran, sit on vast energy reserves. It will also travel to Yemen, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.
Israel is widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal. Iran often complains the West ignores Israel’s atomic capabilities but focuses on Iran’s perceived ambitions.
Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, has said it wants 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power capacity installed by 2020. The plan has been on the drawing board for decades and the first atomic plant at Bushehr is still being built.