Once the fuel rods are loaded, Bolton told Fox News on Friday afternoon, "it makes it essentially immune from attack by
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared in March that
The story immediately became front-page news in
"If they're going to do it that's the window that they have,"
"So most people think that neither
Bolton cited the 1981 Israeli attack on Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor outside
"So if it's going to happen in Bushehr it has to happen before the fuel rods go in,"
The conversation that touched off the de facto deadline for Israeli military action was a telephone conversation with wire services involving Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Rosatom, the Russian Energy State Nuclear Corp.
Novikov said: "The fuel will be loaded on Aug 21. This is the start of the physical launch” of the reactor.
"From that moment the Bushehr plant will be officially considered a nuclear-energy installation," Novikov said, adding that the head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, will visit Bushehr Aug. 21 to conduct a ceremony for the event.
"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,"
The developments mean Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soon may face a stark choice: Attack the Bushehr reactor in the next 8 days, or allow it to become operational despite the certainty it would greatly enhance
Russian leaders have said the Bushehr reactor project is being closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog group. According to
According to Russian officials,
The failure to demand it be shut down began in the Bush years, he said, and continues with the Obama administration "under what I believe is the mistaken theory that
"I don't think
U.N. sanctions against