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Kharrazi rules out negligence towards Bushehr power plant

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, April 13, IRNA
harrazi-Bushehr Power plant
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Wednesday ruled out any negligence towards Bushehr power plant in southern Iran, describing any claim to this effect as 'baseless'.

"The power plant in Bushehr was a taboo. The Russians and the Americans had disagreement (over this issue) but their stances have changed over the past one year," he responded a question raised by MP Nooreddin Pirmoazen from the northwestern city of Ardebil in the Majlis.

"At last, The Russians resisted the pressure exerted on them by the US."
In the open session of the Majlis, Pirmoazen noted that apparently there has been no concern about Bushehr power plant and the concerns are only about Natanz and Arak.

Responding to another question raised by the same MP on the time of construction of Bushehr power plant, Kharrazi stressed that Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) has signed the agreement and the foreign ministry has cooperated in connection with the political aspects of the issue.

Iran and Russia began negotiations on construction of Bushehr ower plant in 1992, he said, adding that the negotiations went on until 1995 and a contract was drawn up in that year but the contract went into effect in late 1997.

Based on an attachment to the deal, the power plant was scheduled to be completed within a 5-year period. Besides, the Russians have announced that the power plant will be completed by the end of 2006, said Kharrazi.

Pirmoazen asked the reason for a 30 year delay in the
implementation of the project and the person who is responsible for the damages cased by such delays.

"In our meetings with the Russian officials, we have complained about the delays but they have their own reasons," Kharrazi replied.

He went on to say that the Bushehr power plant plan was originally a western one drawn up by Germans and some of its equipment were already sent to Iran.

He added, "They refrained from implementing the project after the Islamic Revolution and we had to refer to the Russians and this caused numerous problems."
The Russians have explained that that if they had been told to disregard the plan (the German-designed project) then they would have started from the beginning and delivered the power plant sooner.

Shifting to the financial problems and the fuel of the power plant, he stressed that the fuel-related problem has been resolved and the Russians are duty-bound to deliver fuel on time according to a deal signed by the two sides.

Kharrazi underlined that when the Russians undertook to construct the power plant, 10 percent of the work had been carried out but at present, 80 percent of the construction work has been done.

"After the Islamic Revolution, only Russia announced its readiness (to complete the power plant). However, every country takes into consideration its national interests in a realistic attitude," Kharrazi made the remark in response to a question asked by Pirmoazen on whether the Russians could be trusted.

"Given the sanctions imposed on Iran, it is important to recognize that which source could meet our needs" he said, adding that based on a realistic attitude, the Islamic Republic of Iran has so far upgraded its technologies.

He underscored that Russia cannot be expected to overlook its interests and only regard Iran's interests alone.

The IAEO does know the details of the financial expenses of the power plant but according to the information the foreign ministry has received, the cost has so far reached dlrs one billion.

Elsewhere, MP Pirmoazen criticized the Russians and reiterated that Russians consider Iran as a temporary necessity for the time being so that they have not defended Iran wholeheartedly anywhere.

"The world is fast changing and we cannot expect any country to defend all the principles of other country. Besides, the very principle of the Islamic Revolution is based on independence," Kharrazi stressed.

"If we mar our relations with other countries over every tiny issue, we will finally have to severe our ties. It is important to get our rights."
Pirmoazen termed the responses made by Kharrazi as general and said, "I expected the details of the issue would be revealed." The MP from province of Ardebil, northwestern Iran, was not convinced by Kharrazi's remarks and his questions were referred to Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission to be further studied.

::IRNA No.058 13/04/2005 17:25 --End

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