Russia: Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant to be delayed

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

According to Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (RosAtom) further progress on Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, which Russia has been working to complete, will be delayed because Iran fell behind in the payment schedule.

Cquote1.svg The fact is that there is no money, and it is impossible to construct without money . . . therefore, our Iranian partners should not be surprised by an extension of the deadline for the launch of the first unit at Bushehr Cquote2.svg

—Sergei Novikov, RosAtom

The decision threatens to put Iran’s atomic project in jeopardy, just as it faces the threat of more UN sanctions over its controversial nuclear program.

"The fact is that there is no money, and it is impossible to construct without money," RosAtom spokesman Sergei Novikov told Interfax News Agency. Iran suspended payments on January 17 and "therefore, our Iranian partners should not be surprised by an extension of the deadline for the launch of the first unit at Bushehr," he said.

Under an agreement reached last September, Russia was to deliver nuclear fuel to Bushehr in March and the power station would open in September and begin generating power in November.

When the payment delay was first reported in February Mohammad Saeedi, the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, denied that Tehran had been late in making payments. "Iran has had no delay whatsoever in making payments for the Bushehr nuclear power plant," Mr. Saeedi was quoted as saying by Islamic Republic News Agency. Mr. Novikov said the Iranians blamed the delay on the need to switch payments from dollars to euros.

The announcement from RosAtom came after talks between Russian and Iranian officials last week in Moscow failed to reach agreement on the dispute over funding.

Sources



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