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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Atomstroyexport to continue construction of Bushehr NPP

RIA Novosti

13/03/2007 15:21 MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian company Atomstroyexport will continue the partial construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran despite financing difficulties, the project's contractor said in an official statement Tuesday.

The Russian Nuclear Power Agency said Monday the $1-billion Bushehr NPP Russia is building in southern Iran would not be put into service in September as planned because the Iranian side had delayed financing by two months.

"The lack of resolute measures in current conditions may entail the frustration of the project. We cannot wait for Iran's decision any longer. The postponement of financing will have irreversible consequences," Vladimir Pavlov, the head of Atomstroyexport's department for the construction of Bushehr NPP, told RIA Novosti.

The project contractor said the situation that had developed following the two-month delay in payment was critical for the project. There are delays in construction, and experts have begun to leave the site, with suppliers refusing to deliver equipment.

Atomstroyexport said that under these conditions, the company had authorized the project management to take measures going beyond agreements with the Iranian client to secure the financing of work indispensable for the project's sustained implementation.

A company spokesperson said Monday that nuclear fuel will not be supplied to Bushehr in March, as the Iranian side had not signed any documents on the resumption of the project's financing.

But Pavlov said he hoped specific decisions to rectify the financial problems would be achieved during ongoing talks in Tehran.

"The talks are making certain progress, as the Iranian side is backing a desire for a quick resolution of the problems with the NPP's financing," he said.

The Bushehr facility has been one of the causes of international concerns regarding Iran, with the United States and other Western countries suspecting that the Islamic Republic 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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