Flouting IAEA concerns about its nuclear regime, Iran has announced its intention to construct ten new uranium enrichment plants. ‘Everything possible‘ has been done to ensure the completion of Iran’s first nuclear power station, the Bushehr energy plant, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko has announced, although apparently no set time has been agreed for when it will open. Shmatko is in Tehran to discuss the possibility of Russia exporting refined oil products to Iran, amongst other issues; petrochemical heavyweight Sibur is in talks with the Iranian National Petrochemical Company on building sizable plants in the country. Cooperation rhetoric comes despite Russia and China joining other international powers in condemning Iran’s alleged nuclear activities last week. In 2012, Russia will pump gas directly to Britain for the first time as declining North Sea oil supplies make importing a necessity. EDF and GDF Suez have agreed to participate in Russian pipeline projects; taking a 10% stake in South Stream and a possible 9% in Nord Stream respectively; further details of France-Russia energy cooperation in the Moscow Times. It looks like Russia may be able to gain a much-sought-after foothold in western Europe, with GDF Suez ready to sell a stake in eastern German gas supplier VNG to Gazprom. No breakthrough has been reached between Turkmenistan and Russia on disputed gas pricing issues. Günther Oettinger has been named the EU’s new energy commissioner.