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Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 11:12 GMT
Iran to build new nuclear plant
A general view of Iran's first nuclear reactor, being built in Bushehr
Iran's first reactor at Bushehr is due to start producing electricity soon
Iran's government has approved plans to build a second nuclear power plant, Iranian state media has reported.

This comes amid growing Western concern over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, with talks between Iran and EU negotiators due to restart within days.

Few details were given about the proposed plant, to be built in the south-western Khuzestan province.

The US and EU suspect Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons programme but Tehran says its intentions are peaceful.

September 2002: Work begins on Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr
December 2002: Satellite photographs reveal nuclear sites at Arak and Natanz. Iran agrees to an IAEA inspection
September 2003: IAEA gives Iran weeks to prove it is not pursuing atomic weapons
November 2003: Iran suspends uranium enrichment and allows tougher inspections; IAEA says no proof of any weapons programme
June 2004: IAEA rebukes Iran for not fully co-operating with nuclear inquiry
November 2004: Iran suspends uranium enrichment as part of deal with EU
August 2005: Iran rejects EU proposals and resumes work at Isfahan nuclear plant

The International Atomic Energy Agency and western countries have repeatedly expressed concern over a lack of transparency in Iran's nuclear activities.

Iran has previously said it wants to build 20 nuclear power stations in as many years to meet its future energy needs.

BBC Teheran correspondent Frances Harrison says the announcement of the new plans could be aimed at deflecting criticism that Iran does not have any operational nuclear power stations to justify its production of enriched uranium for nuclear fuel.

Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr is due to start generating electricity next year, years behind schedule.


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