Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Russia, Iran agree on completion schedule for Bushehr plant - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia and Iran reached an agreement Thursday on a schedule for finishing construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant, which plays a central role in the international tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, Russian news agencies reported.

The reports cited the head of plant contractor Atomstroiexport, Sergei Shmatko, as saying details of the timetable would be released later this month.

The United States and other critics have long protested construction of the US$1 billion (¤680,000) plant, saying it would give Iran cover for developing a nuclear weapons program.

Construction at the plant has been sporadically delayed amid disputes between Iran and Russia over payment, fuel delivery and other issues. But Russia has remained opposed to a U.S.-led push for international sanctions against Iran for allegedly seeking to develop nuclear weapons. “The difficulties with the Iranian contracts have been settled,” Shmatko was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. He did not give details of the completion plans, but said that fuel would be delivered to Iran about half a year before it is needed to operate the plant, according to Interfax.

Shmatko’s announcement came about an hour before Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was to meet in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Although Russia has resisted drives to impose sanctions on Iran, it also repeatedly has urged Tehran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency to resolve concerns over the nuclear program.

Shmatko on Thursday raised the prospect of creating a Russian-Iranian joint venture “to ensure security” at the Bushehr plant, according to the RIA-Novosti agency. That could indicate Russian interest in ensuring that enriched uranium at the plant is not stolen or diverted. Depleted fuel rods also could be reprocessed into plutonium.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

More Posts

Follow Me:
FacebookGoogle PlusYouTube