Iran to wait another month for Russian decision on nuclear plant

Iran will wait another month for a decision by Russia on how to proceed in completing a joint nuclear power plant in the southern Iranian port of Bushehr, said Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, on Tuesday.

Iran to wait another month for Russian decision on nuclear plant
Iran will wait another month for a decision by Russia on how to proceed in completing a joint nuclear power plant in the southern Iranian port of Bushehr, said Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, on Tuesday.

"We will present the final report on the Bushehr plant within one month," state news agency IRNA quoted Aqazadeh as saying.

Aqazadeh, who is also Iran's vice-president, stated that Russian contractor Atomstroiexport was no longer ready to complete the project due to financial problems despite Iran's having fulfilled all of its monetary obligations in accordance with the contract.

He added however that a joint commission between Iran and Russia were trying to settle the dilemma, and added that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally guaranteed Tehran the plant's timely completion.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said last week that Iran agreed with Russia to fix a timetable for nuclear fuel delivery to Bushehr. Russian news agency Interfax however reported that setting the timetable has for the time being been postponed.

Meanwhile, Iranian presidential press chief Ali-Akbar Javanfekr had told the Russian daily Gazeta that although Iran was interested in having Russia finish the plant, it was considering other candidates as well.

Officials in Tehran later modified Javanfekr's remarks, saying the country would still trust Russia to complete the Bushehr plant.

The Iranian-Russian joint project was originally supposed to be completed at the beginning of the millennium but has been delayed at least five times for various reasons.

The most recent agreement between the two sides, signed last September in Moscow, envisioned the supply of nuclear fuel in March 2007, the physical launch of the plant in September and the energy launch in November this year.

Atomstroiexport announced earlier this year that there would be another delay due to a financial dispute with Tehran. Iran, however, rejected the claims, saying all payments had been made on time.

Tehran has already warned Russia that it risks a loss of credibility with contradictory remarks on the completion of the plant and noted that doubts over Moscow's role as a reliable partner were increasing.

DPA
Last Mod: 11 Eylül 2007, 18:53
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