The announcement comes as Iran has been rocked by nationwide protests challenging the theocratic government that began after the death of a young woman in police custody over an allegedly violation of the Islamic dress code. In a possibly related move, Iran’s semi-official IRNA news agency late Saturday quoted a top prosecutor as saying officials had “closed” the morality police force responsible for enforcing the dress code. It gave no details.
The new 300-megawatt plant, known as Karoon, will take eight years to build and cost around $2 billion, the country’s state television and radio agency reported. The plant will be located in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province, near its western border with Iraq, it said.
The construction site’s inauguration ceremony was attended by Mohammed Eslami, head of Iran’s civilian Atomic Energy Organization, who first unveiled construction plans for Karoon in April.
Iran has one nuclear power plant at its southern port of Bushehr that went online in 2011 with help from Russia, but also several underground nuclear facilities.