Iran’s Getting New Nuclear Reactors Courtesy of Russia

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Photo: Mikhail Metzel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

If there’s one deadline that’s weighing pretty heavily on President Obama’s mind this month, it’s the one for a deal with Iran about the country’s nuclear program. It probably doesn’t look great, then, that the Islamic Republic signed a deal with Russia to build two new nuclear-plant units, less than two weeks before the deadline, just as new reports are emerging about its hesitance to allow nuclear inspectors to do their jobs.

The deal between Russia and Iran was signed Tuesday and includes provisions for developing more nuclear-power units. Russia may also consider relocating some parts of its nuclear-fuel production to Iran, according to Reuters. Perhaps another attempt by Vladimir Putin to woo a major player into his Eurasian Economic Union?

At the same time, Iran is apparently barring a U.N. weapons inspector from entering the country, although it has allowed other officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency in under the deal (albeit reluctantly). The unnamed inspector who has been denied a visa several times and is believed to be an American bombs expert, which adds a little extra friction between the U.S. and Tehran ahead of the deadline.

Under a nuclear agreement, Iran will downgrade its nuclear programs and allow in international inspectors to reassure the West that it’s not developing an atomic bomb. In return, the U.S. and allies will ease up on sanctions, which have been crippling the country’s economy. No word yet on how mad Obama is, but given his recent letter to the Ayatollah, we’re betting on somewhere between furious and steaming.