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Nuclear plant in Iran nearing full operation, country’s energy minister says

JTA

November 8, 2012 | 2:00 pm

Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou in New Delhi on Oct. 10. Photo by B Mathur/Reuters

Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou in New Delhi on Oct. 10. Photo by B Mathur/Reuters

Iran's energy minister said his country's first nuclear power plant will be fully operational in the next two months.

Najid Namjou was quoted Thursday by the Islamic Republic's semi-official Fars news agency about the Bushehr plant, according to Reuters.

The same day, the Pentagon confirmed that Iran fired on a U.S. drone flying in international airspace 15 miles off the coast of Iran and east of Kuwait on Nov. 1. The drone was not hit.

Russia said two months ago that the Bushehr plant was completely online. Work on the plant reportedly was completed by Russia more than 30 years after construction was started by German companies in 1975. The plant started adding electricity to Iran's national grid in September 2011. It is believed that the refined uranium produced by the plant also could be used to power a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon told CNN that the drone was on a routine maritime surveillance and that the incident involves sensitive intelligence matters.

It is unclear whether Iran intended to hit the drone. It is believed to be the first time that Iran has fired on a U.S. drone.

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