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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Bushehr NPP will not be launched in Sept. -Atomstroyexport

RIA Novosti

12/03/2007 17:39 MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) - The Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran will not be launched in September 2007 as planned, a spokesman for the project's contractor, Atomstroyexport, said Monday.

Russian specialists are building Iran's first NPP under a $1 billion contract signed in 1995, but Russia claimed last month that Iran had an unpaid debt for its construction services, and said that as a result construction might take longer than previously expected.

He also said nuclear fuel will not be supplied to Bushehr in March, as the Iranian side has not signed any documents on the resumption of the project's financing.

"Today, we are facing an unprecedented attitude on the part of the Iranian side to the Bushehr project, which was until recently considered the flagship of Russian-Iranian cooperation," he said.

The spokesman said the Bushehr NPP might have stopped being an Iranian priority.

He said the NPP construction is an economic process, involving dozens of organizations, which has nothing to do with "declarations of friendship and good-neighborly relations."

An inside source said earlier that Moscow believes Iran abuses its good relations with Russia and urges Tehran to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog.

"The Iranians are abusing our constructive attitude and have done nothing to help us convince our colleagues of Tehran's consistency," he said.

"This is detrimental to us, especially to our foreign policy and our image," the official said. "We do not want an Iran armed with a nuclear bomb or the ability to acquire one."

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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