Reuters: Russia said on Friday it was likely to postpone talks in Tehran over the construction of a nuclear power station, a project that has been caught up in an international standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Friday it was likely to postpone talks in Tehran over the construction of a nuclear power station, a project that has been caught up in an international standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Russia’s state-owned nuclear contractor said persistent payment problems lay behind the expected postponement of talks in Iran at the end of May over construction at the Bushehr plant.
“The likelihood is that (Atomstroiexport head Sergei) Shmatko will not go,” said an official from the contractor, which is building the plant, who did not want to be identified.
Russia says Iran has missed payments for construction work. Iranian officials deny that and say Moscow is delaying the project due to Western pressure to curb Iran’s nuclear work.
Analysts say Moscow is reluctant to complete the power station and deliver fuel because that it likely to cause an international outcry.
Western leaders say they suspect Iran is seeking to develop atomic weapons. Iran says it is pursuing nuclear power exclusively to generate electricity.
The Russian official reiterated funding was the problem holding up construction at Bushehr.
“The reason is that at the moment an agreed position … has not been worked out on the problematic issues, on ensuring guaranteed and complete financing of the construction, which is what is necessary, right up to the launch,” the official said.
He said talks with Iran on the plant were continuing.
“The customers have been sent a number of questions on our problematic issues. After we receive answers to these questions a decision will be taken on the venue and date of the negotiations.”
Moscow says the project to build Bushehr will not give Iran access to the nuclear fuel or technology which Western powers say it is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon.