Iran has yet to resume payments for a nuclear power plant Russia is constructing at Bushehr, and Moscow does not intend to pay for the plant’s construction, a Russian atomic energy official said Friday.
“We cannot finish this plant at our own expense,” Sergei Kiriyenko, chief of Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said in comments run by Interfax. Kiriyenko’s comments come as Moscow says the plant’s planned launch date of September 2007 will be pushed back at least two months due to Iran’s failure to provide financing.
Negotiations on Bushehr’s construction begun in Tehran this week are to continue through the weekend. Atomstroiexport, the Russian state-controlled company overseeing construction, said Friday that it hoped talks would be completed early next week.
Russia has said Iran ended monthly payments of 25 million dollars in January, but Tehran claims it has provided all necessary financing.
Iranian leaders have also upped their rhetoric in the past week, with Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, questioning Moscow’s “reliability” and saying it had “politicized” Bushehr. The 850 million-dollar plant was begun in the 1970s by Germany’s Siemens but then abandoned after the Shah’s overthrow. Atomstroiexport agreed in 1995 to finish the facility’s construction.