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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia could complete Iran's NPP shortly - nuclear chief

RIA Novosti

04/06/2007 16:50 KIEV, June 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia could complete the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant promptly if Iran ensured uninterrupted funding, Russia's nuclear chief, who is on a visit to Ukraine, said Monday.

Iran's first NPP was threatened with 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 completely stopped payments in mid-January. Iran denied any payment problems and accused Russia of delays.

"This project could be completed in the shortest time possible, when funding is ensured," Sergei Kiriyenko, the Nuclear Power Agency head, said.

Kiriyenko said Iran had allocated about $20 million since the start of this year, whereas the contract stipulated $25 million monthly payments. Kiriyenko also complained about delays in equipment supplies from third countries and denied any delays caused by Russia.

The $1-billion project has been implemented under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog as the Islamic Republic has been suspected of seeking to build nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian program. Tehran insisted it only wants nuclear energy.

The Islamic Republic is facing a new round of UN Security Council sanctions over its defiance of international demands to halt uranium enrichment, which could be used both in electricity generation and weapons production.



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