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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian firm says Baku not requested info on Iran NPP cargo

RIA Novosti

22/04/2008 17:04 MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian company building a nuclear power plant in Iran said Tuesday it had not received any official request for information from Azerbaijan about a shipment seized on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border.

Atomstroyexport confirmed reports on Monday that Azerbaijani border officials had stopped equipment en route from Russia to the Bushehr nuclear power plant from crossing into Iran several weeks ago.

"We have been prepared to provide explanations on the cargo for the past 25 days since the freight was stopped on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border, but Azerbaijan has not made any official inquiries," a company spokesperson said.

The representative said the cargo destined for Bushehr was not a dual-purpose product or nuclear material, but insulating equipment. "The shipment was registered in line with all accepted international practical regulations," the spokesperson said.

Atomstroyexport and the Russian Embassy in Azerbaijan are working to rectify the problem, the representative added. "The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has been informed about the halt in the delivery, needed to complete the construction of the Bushehr plant, by the Azerbaijani side without any explanation."

But the press secretary of Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry said his country had requested information from Russia over the cargo.

"There are certain UN Security Council resolutions against Iran in place, and we want to know whether the cargo complies with the resolutions. Which is why we requested that the Russian side specify the content of the cargo," Khazar Ibragim said.

Russia's state nuclear power corporation Rosatom denied on Tuesday sending officials to Azerbaijan to discuss the recent border seizure of freight destined for an Iranian nuclear power plant.

"No officials from Rosatom or Atomstroyexport have been sent to negotiate," a Rosatom spokesman said.

Iran is currently under three sets of UN sanctions over its uranium program. The latest resolution against Iran froze accounts of certain Iranian companies and banks, and introduced inspections for goods leaving and entering the Islamic Republic.

Russia delivered its final and eighth fuel shipment to Bushehr on January 28. Russia has supplied a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the light-water nuclear power plant. Iran hopes its first nuclear power plant will be launched in October.

"This situation [with the cargo] is unlikely to seriously affect the commissioning schedule, although a slight risk still persists," Atomstroyexport spokeswoman Irina Yesipova said on Monday.

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