He said that once Russia has loaded the fuel into the reactor -- slated for Saturday – Israel would no longer be willing to strike for fear of triggering widespread radiation in an attack.
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“This is a very, very big victory for Iran,” Bolton told The Jerusalem Post. “This is a huge threshold.”
Bolton, who also once oversaw US non-proliferation policy, said that when Russia announced the plans to load the fuel last Friday, “the element of surprise was essentially taken away” from Israeli calculations.
Bolton noted that he doesn’t “have a clue” as to whether Israel would actually attack, but he said, “If Israel was right to destroy the Osiraq reactor, is it right to allow this one to continue? You can’t have it both ways.”
Israel took out Iraq’s Osiraq reactor during a stealth mission in 1981. It is also believed to have conducted a similar strike on an alleged Syria nuclear site in 2007.
Russia signed a contract with Iran to construct the Bushehr reactor in 1995, but has several times delayed completion. In announcing the long-overdue fuel installation, which should make Bushehr operational in September, Russia did not indicate why it was going ahead with the final stages now.
In addition to Bushehr -- for which Russia says it has guarantees it will receive back the spent fuel, the material needed to make a nuclear bomb -- Iran has its own uranium enrichment facilities.