Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Azerbaijan allows Russian equipment for Bushehr NPP into Iran

RIA Novosti

01/05/2008 19:59 BAKU, May 1 (RIA Novosti) - Azerbaijan has allowed the Russian equipment for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, held up for over a month on the Azerbaijan-Iran border, into Iran, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

A column of vehicles carrying heat insulators for the Bushehr NPP, which Russian contractor Atomstroyexport is building in the southwest of the Islamic Republic, was stopped at the border between Azerbaijan and Iran in late March.

Atomstroyexport earlier 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."

However, Azerbaijani authorities said earlier they had not received information from Russia over the cargo in a timely and appropriate manner.

Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said Wednesday he met with Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Naser Hamidi Zare on Tuesday and assured him that the delay was caused by technical formalities rather than political issues.

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's ambassador to Azerbaijan, Vasily Istratov, confirmed on Wednesday that the shipment would soon be delivered to Iran.

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