Russia, Iran agree on timetable for Bushehr nuclear plant

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Moscow, Dec 13 (UNI) Russia and Iran have reached an agreement on a time schedule of completing the construction of the nuclear power plant in the Iranian city of Bushehr, Director General of the Russian company Atomstroieksport Sergei Shmatko said today. ''The difficulties with the Iranian customer have been settled, and we have agreed on the construction schedule. I shall call it more precisely at the end of December,'' Mr Shmatko told Itar-Tass news agency.

The breakthrough came at the talks between the visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and senior Russian officials, here after repeated delays in the one billion dollar project, which Moscow attributed to payment arrears, but Iran blamed on Western pressure.

Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) is offering to enrich uranium for Iran's nuclear plant at a special facility in Angarsk in Siberia as an alternative to creating a similar site in the Arab world.

Mr Mottaki's visit to Moscow comes as the US has called for further talks on increased sanctions against Iran.

According to a recent US intelligence report, Iran halted its nuclear arms programme in 2003.

Russia and China have always denied Western accusations that Iran was developing nuclear weapons, saying the issue must be resolved through peaceful means.

During his visit to Tehran in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured Tehran that Russia would complete the construction of the Bushehr plant.


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