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US expert warns of environmental danger to Gulf region from Iran''s Bushehr nuclear plant

 BRUSSELS, April 16 (KUNA) -- A leading American expert on Iran speaking in Brussels on Tuesday warned that Iran's nuclear reactor in Bushehr area is prone to earthquakes poses a real health and environmental threat to the whole Gulf region.
"The safety of the Iranian nuclear reactors underscores the genuine risk that is there for the region. Iranians have refused to join any international body on nuclear safety and they have moved ahead with the Bushehr nuclear plant in a region which is prone to earthquakes," said Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of a Washington-based think-tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
"They have announced plans to build scores of new nuclear reactors in the same region. This represent a threat not only to the Iranian people but to the entire Gulf region," said Mark an Iran sanctions and nonproliferation expert who advises the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress.
He was speaking with journalists at a breakfast event organised by another Brussels-based think-tank European Foundation for Democracy on Tuesday.
"If there is a nuclear disaster like Chernobyl in that area, the environmental and health costs will be borne by the people of the Gulf," he stressed.
Last week, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake near Bushehr raised fears over safety at the nuclear complex.
The American expert said the Iranian nuclear programme is beating the western economic pressure and diplomacy.
"The nuclear programme is moving ahead quickly and aggressively to the point where in fifteen months time the Iranians will reach undetectable nuclear break out," he said.
"Diplomacy is failing with the five rounds of negotiations with P5+1 and Iran. Those negotiations have yielded very little," he said.
Mark noted that sanctions have not done enough to crack the will of Iran and he urged the West to impose maximum pressure on Iran, including intensifying economic sanctions and cracking down on Tehran's illicit imports of centrifuge equipment and material. (end) asj.tg KUNA 161815 Apr 13NNNN