Russian and Iranian officials confirmed on Friday that work to launch Iran's first nuclear power plant is going as scheduled, Russia's state nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly said.
Atomstroyexport chief Dan Belenky met on Friday with a senior official at Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), Ahmad Fayazbakhsh, to discuss the progress of start-up work at the Bushehr plant.
"A high-ranking Iranian official responsible for the implementation of the Iranian nuclear program stressed that Russian and Iranian experts are working in a team to launch the Bushehr power plant as soon as possible," Atomstroyexport said in a statement.
Russia has frequently delayed the launch of the $1 billion plant in the Islamic Republic, citing financial or technical problems. Iran is at the center of an international dispute over its nuclear ambitions, amid Western suspicions that the program has military goals, and is subject to UN sanctions.
Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the IAEO, said in October the Bushehr plant was 96% complete, and that almost all of the equipment had been installed.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said earlier this week that Russia was close to finishing the construction of the Bushehr plant and is currently making final adjustments.
The construction of the Bushehr plant was started in 1975 by German companies. However, the firms stopped work after a U.S. embargo was imposed on high technology supplies to Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the subsequent U.S. embassy siege in Tehran.
Russia signed a contract with Iran to complete the plant in February 1998, originally due for completion at the end of 2006.
MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti)