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Bushehr NPP launch will boost trust in Russia - Iranian lawmaker

RIA Novosti

27/06/2006 15:20 TEHRAN, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - The launch of a nuclear power plant currently being built in Iran with Russian assistance will enhance Russia's image as a reliable partner, the Iranian parliament's speaker said Tuesday.

During a visit to the Bushehr power plant, 250 miles southwest of the capital, Tehran,

Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel said putting the facility into operation would boost confidence in political and technological cooperation with Russia both domestically and internationally.

But he warned that any unjustified delays in getting the plant online would have an adverse effect on Russia's trustworthiness.

Russia's top civilian nuclear official said Monday that Russian specialists would continue building the Bushehr plant as scheduled for commissioning in 2007.

"Our Iranian colleagues want to see it built sooner than that, but it will be constructed as planned," said Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's Federal Agency for Nuclear Power.

Russia has been facing strong international pressure to halt cooperation with Iran on the $800-million Bushehr project, over fears that the Islamic Republic is pursuing a covert weapons program under the guise of civilian research.

Earlier this year, Moscow suggested that Iran send its uranium for enrichment on Russian soil. Iran has not yet given any definitive answer to the offer, and continues to insist on its right to obtain nuclear fuel for civilian purposes.

In June, six countries negotiating to break the deadlock around the Iran nuclear crisis proposed a package of incentives to encourage Iran to give up uranium enrichment. But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Islamic Republic would respond to that new proposal, drawn up by the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, only in mid-August.

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