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Russian delegation in Tehran for talks over Bushehr power plant

Tehran, March 12, IRNA - A Russian delegation comprising officials and experts of Atomstroiexport, the company that is building the Bushehr nuclear power plant, arrived Monday in Tehran to settle a dispute over an alleged default in payment by Iran for the plant.

The delegation is to hold talks with officials of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

Atomstroiexport is Russia's national agent and general contractor for the nuclear power plant that is currently in the final stage of construction in southern Iran.

The company recently announced that inauguration of the plant could again be delayed as well as supply of nuclear fuel for the plant following Iran's failure to settle its financial account.

Based on an agreement reached by the two sides in September 2006, the plant was to be test-operated in September 2007 and the fuel needed by the plant transferred to Iran by end of March.

Iranian officials insist Tehran has faithfully complied with its financial obligations as stipulated in the contract.

An Iranian delegation, headed by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Deputy Head for International Affairs Mohammad Saeedi, traveled to Moscow last week to discuss the issue with officials of the Russian company.

The delegation gave the assurance Iran was ready to meet any financial obligation of the Russian side to prevent any further delay in the plant's inauguration.

Saeedi said after their talks the technical and legal disagreements on the dispatch of fuel to Iran have been sorted out and that any failure by the Russian company to meet the March deadline would not be due to any unresolved technical or legal issue.

The visiting Russian delegation may also pay a visit to the Bushehr power plant.

AEOI chief Reza Aqazadeh on Sunday expressed Iran's readiness to help the Russian contractor of the plant meet its financial problems so the plant can be inaugurated on the rescheduled date.

He said the Russian company has some financial problems of its own and needed Iran's help to be able to finish construction of the Bushehr power plant in due time.

"We are ready to enhance the Russian side's finances although Iran is not legally committed to do so as per its contract," Aqazadeh said.

He added that support sectors of the plant, including its industrial water and sea water transfer circulation systems were currently ready for operation.

... Payvand News - 3/12/07 ... --

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