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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, Iran to discuss Bushehr NPP in Tehran in May

RIA Novosti

18/05/2007 13:25

TEHRAN, May 18 (RIA Novosti) - The head of Russia's nuclear export monopoly will visit Tehran later in May to discuss the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, an informed source said Friday.

"Atomstroyexport chief [Sergei Shmatko] and officials from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) will focus on the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant," the source said.

Russia's Atomstroyexport is building Bushehr, Iran's first nuclear power plant, under a 1995 agreement in the south of the Islamic Republic, which has been in the focus of international attention over its controversial nuclear research program. Western nations and Israel suspect Tehran of concealing a weapons program, but Iran says it needs to enrich uranium for energy.

The $1-billion project, implemented under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog, came under the threat of suspension after the Russian contractor said in February that Tehran had only covered 60% of the required funding by the fourth quarter of 2006, and had completely stopped payment in mid-January.

Following negotiations with Iranian officials, Atomstroyexport said in March that Iran had made a portion of the payments, but still had to cover the arrears.

Another round of bilateral talks in Moscow April 21-22 yielded a bilateral deal outlining a set of measures to provide stable financing for the project. The Bushehr project was originally to be commissioned in July 1999, but the deadline has been revised five times since then.

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