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Iran Rejects Russian Debt Claims On Bushehr

MOSCOW, February 20, 2007 -- Iran has denied Russian claims that Tehran has fallen behind on payments for work on the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran.

Russian atomic energy officials earlier said the problem could delay the start-up of the Bushehr plant.

News agencies quote officials in Russia as also saying there have been problems obtaining equipment to complete the plant.

Russia had been scheduled to begin nuclear-fuel deliveries for the plant in March, ahead of the reactor's planned September launch.

The development came as the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency is preparing to issue a report on February 23 on Iran's compliance with UN Security Council demands that Iran halt uranium enrichment.

Reports say the report is likely to confirm that Iran has failed to comply with a 60-day Security Council deadline to stop enrichment activities.

Iranian officials say the country's security council chief, Ali Larijani, is due to meet today in Vienna with Muhammad el-Baradei, executive director of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.

(Reuters, AFP)

Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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