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Russia sends Iran debt settlement plan for Bushehr NPP

RIA Novosti

21/02/2007 18:44

MOSCOW, February 21 (RIA Novosti) -- The Russian nuclear equipment and services monopoly said Wednesday it has sent its Iranian partners a timeframe for settling an outstanding debt on construction of a nuclear power plant in southern Iran.

Atomstroyexport, the contractor for the Bushehr NPP in Iran's south, said Tuesday that Tehran has not made payments for the $1 billion NPP project for over a month.

"Atomstroyexport has forwarded to the Iranian side all the necessary documents to coordinate settlement terms [on Bushehr NPP construction]," the company press service said.

"We are very concerned and awaiting proposals from the Iranian side," a spokesman for the company said.

But it said earlier suspending or freezing the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is out of the question.

Bushehr NPP "is the most important aspect of Russian-Iranian cooperation. Therefore, suspending or freezing its construction is out of the question," Vladimir Pavlov, the head of Atomstroyexport's managing body for the construction of the Bushehr NPP, said.

But Pavlov reconfirmed that Iran has not made payments to Russia for about a month under the existing contract, signed in 1995.

On Monday Pavlov said the construction of the Bushehr NPP could take more time than expected.

But Mohammad Saidi, the deputy director of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, said Monday there had been no delays in payments to Russia for the construction of a nuclear plant in Iran.

He said payments were being made under the contract and according to schedule.

The Bushehr facility has been a source of international dispute, with the United States and other Western countries, raising concerns that Iran could use the project as part of a covert weapons program. Iran has consistently denied that its nuclear program has military goals.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in December imposing sanctions against Iran.

Russia, a key economic partner of Iran, has consistently supported the Islamic Republic's right to nuclear power under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and has resisted the imposition of harsh sanctions.

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