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    A Russian delegation that attended talks on the problem of financing the construction of a nuclear power plant in southern Iran is returning to Moscow without having achieved any results, Russia's nuclear equipment exporter said Friday.

    MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian delegation that attended talks on the problem of financing the construction of a nuclear power plant in southern Iran is returning to Moscow without having achieved any results, Russia's nuclear equipment exporter said Friday.

    The $1 billion project being built under a 1995 contract was put in jeopardy after Atomstroyexport said that Tehran had not made any payments for the NPP's construction since mid-January, and that by the fourth quarter of 2006 the project had only received 60% of the required funding.

    "The Russian delegation is returning from Tehran today after a regular round of talks. We are planning to continue the negotiations on the Bushehr NPP construction problems, although the date of the next round of talks has not been fixed yet," the Atomstroyexport press secretary said.

    At the latest round of talks, held April 9-13 in Tehran, Russia asked Iran to switch from national to international banking standards in funding the nuclear power plant.

    "Atomstroyexport has prepared cooperation proposals based on international banking law, especially since our Bushehr NPP project is also based on international law," a company spokesman said.

    He said international banking standards are crucial for the successful completion of the Russia-led project in the south of the country.

    On March 26, Atomstroyexport announced that Tehran had resumed financing of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and that it had received the first payment from Iran, but reiterated that Russia expected future payments on time to avoid further construction delays.

    Iran said only 8% of the work remains to be done on the Bushehr NPP, and that "this year its construction will be completed."

    The Bushehr project implemented under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog was originally to be commissioned at the end of 2006, but the date has been postponed five times.

    The project was originally started by Germany's Siemens in 1975, but work stopped following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    Iran's nuclear research, namely its enrichment of uranium that can be used in nuclear weapons, has been at the center of international attention since early last year. Iran says it needs nuclear fuel to generate power.

    Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday the Islamic Republic had launched industrial production of nuclear fuel at the Natanz center, about 1,000 miles from the Israeli border. The UN Security Council tightened sanctions against Iran March 24.

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