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Russia Delays Launch of Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Plant, Again

Press TV - After skirting around the delivery of the S-300 air defense system to Tehran, Russia says it is also running late on the launch of a nuclear plant in southeastern Iran.

View of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in Southern Iran
Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes

Moscow had earlier said that the power plant, located in the southern city of Bushehr, would be up and running by the end of 2009. However, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said the plant would not come on-stream until next year.

"We expect serious results by the end of the year, but the launch itself will not take place," Interfax quoted Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko as saying on Monday.

However, Shmatko explained that the delay was due to technical difficulties and said the Kremlin has every intention to fulfill its obligations with regards to the Bushehr plant.

"Russia, as before, is certain that it will fulfill all its obligations to Iran," the energy minister said.

Western corporations launched the construction of the Bushehr facility in the 1970's. However, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Western companies abandoned their commitments and pulled out of the project due to political pressure.

Iran was then forced to turn to Russia in order to be able to complete the project. In 1992, Tehran and Moscow signed a deal to finalize the construction of the nuclear power plant.

The Bushehr plant was originally scheduled to be completed in 1999, but it's finalization has repeatedly been delayed and after some ten years Moscow is still postponing the launch of the facility.

Russia is also running behind schedule with regards to an agreement to deliver Iran the sophisticated S-300 defense missile system - a mobile land-based system designed to shoot down aircrafts and cruise missiles.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Wednesday that Moscow has a "contractual obligation" to deliver the advanced S-300 air defense system to Tehran.

"We have made a deal with the Kremlin to buy S-300 defense missiles," said Vahidi. "We don't think Russian officials would want to be seen in the world as contract violators," he added.

... Payvand News - 11/16/09 ... --

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