Interior view of Bushehr nuclear power plant, 1,200 km south of Tehran
Interior view of Bushehr nuclear power plant, 1,200 km south of Tehran Reuters

One day after delivering a bizarre and inflammatory speech at the United Nations in New York, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his government is in discussions with Russia about constructing another nuclear power plant in Iran.

Speaking at a news conference in New York, Ahmadinejad said Iran needs an additional 19,000 megawatts, or twenty times the power that the Bushehr nuclear plant (also built by Russia) currently provides.

At a cost of $1 billion, the Bushehr reactor was built by the Russian company Atomstroyexport in southeastern Iran and commissioned on Sept. 13.

“There are currently conversations ongoing for the Russians to provide that, but it is only a general proposal,” said Ahmadinejad. “And from here, today, as we speak, I want to officially invite other firms and other entities to come and bid and propose their participation for building these power plants.”

Ahmadinejad said Iran and Russia are “neighbors” and that “neighbors must be friends with one another. There are efforts on both sides in order to have a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship.”

The Iranian president also re-asserted his claim that his country is only producing low-enriched uranium in order to create radio-isotopes that would be used in medical treatments. He also said that if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEA) could supply Iran’s domestic needs, Tehran would cease its enrichment program immediately.

Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear power, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after speaking at a U.N. Security Council meeting. They are not entitled to a nuclear weapons program.