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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran officials in Moscow for nuclear talks on Bushehr

RIA Novosti

21/04/2007 19:08 TEHRAN, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian nuclear officials arrived in Moscow last night to discuss completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant that Russia is building in the Islamic Republic, the IRNA news agency said.

Ahmad Fayazbakhsh, deputy director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, is heading the delegation to Moscow. The Russian side is led by Sergei Shmatko, head of Atomstroyexport, the chief contractor in the $1-billion project.

The project built under a 1995 contract was put in jeopardy after Atomstroyexport accused Tehran in February of failing to make payments for the construction since mid-January. Moscow said the project had only received 60% of the required funding by the fourth quarter of 2006. Iran said in April that only 8% of the work remained to be done and that "this year its construction will be completed."

Moscow and Tehran continued talks over the issue last month until the Russian contractor said in late March that Iran had made part of the payments but still had to cover the arrears.

The Bushehr project implemented under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog was originally to be commissioned in July 1999, but the deadline has been revised five times since then.

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