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Russia says is committed to its obligations towards Iran

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Moscow, Feb 20, IRNA
Russia abides by its commitment for fuel shipment and completion of Bushehr nuclear power plant, said an aide to Russian Rosatom chief Sergei Novikov here on Tuesday.

Novikov told reporters under an agreement signed last September Iran was due to pay Russia 25 million dollars (19 million euros) a month for the Bushehr project.

But, he said, "in the fourth quarter of 2006, the Iranians failed to pay 60 percent of the sums foreseen by the agreement. In January they paid only 5.1 million dollars, or 20 percent of the sum anticipated, and in February they've paid nothing."

Novikov said that however, Russia is committed to fulfill all its obligations considering time of construction and delivery of nuclear fuel to the powerplant.

"If the lack of finance could effect the project calendar, it will also affect the date of sending nuclear fuel," Novikov said.

He said the first fuel consignment will be shipped to Iran six months before the compound's physical operation.

Iran's Atomic Energy Organization has reportedly denied Russia's claim of payment delay and said Iran has acted on all its financial commitments regarding the power plant.

Russia's Atomstroiexport project supervisor Vladimir Pavlov had claimed on Monday that late payments by Iran might delay the commissioning of Bushehr nuclear power plant.

"Certainly such issues affect the completion date," said Pavlov in an interview with reporters on Monday.

He confirmed claims of a Russian official that Iran had not made the last part of payments to Atomstroiexport as a result of its new foreign exchange mechanism to replace dollar with euro.

Russian news agencies too quoted an unnamed state official as saying that payments by Iran had been held up for more than a month due to an Iranian ban on payments in US dollars.

Pavlov said that Atomstroiexport had received a statement from Iran's Central Bank, which announced the change in the country's foreign exchange payment mode.

"We are worried about the issue and expect the Iranian side to offer its proposals on the issue," he announced.

The project supervisor said that under a contract signed with a third country on delivery of the cooling equipment for the security system of the compound the shipment process has been postponed to late 2007.

He said that last September the two sides agreed on a new timetable under which Russia would deliver fuel to the power station this March, in order to start operation in September and produce energy in November.

He added that based on the schedule, the nuclear fuel for the power plant should be sent to the facility six months prior to its operation.

Head of Russian Rosatom Federal Agency for Nuclear Power Sergei Kiriyenko earlier said that Bushehr nuclear power plant would be completed on schedule if no financial problem arose in the process.

Main contractor of the project Atomstroiexport announced late last year that about 95 percent of operations related to construction of the power plant had been implemented.


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