Reuters: Iran has met its commitments to Russia over building the Islamic Republic’s first nuclear power plant and is ready to go beyond those commitments to assist the work, an Iranian official said on Sunday. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has met its commitments to Russia over building the Islamic Republic’s first nuclear power plant and is ready to go beyond those commitments to assist the work, an Iranian official said on Sunday.
The comments came after Russia said on Friday it was likely to postpone talks at the end of the month in Tehran over the construction of Bushehr plant, a project embroiled in an international standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“The negotiations are still going on between Tehran and Moscow, though there have been different statements heard from Russian officials,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a weekly news conference.
Russia says Iran has missed payments for construction work. Iranian officials insist they have made payments on time and say Moscow is delaying because of Western pressure.
Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to use a civilian nuclear power program as a smokescreen for efforts to produce atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
“We will continue the Bushehr project. It is possible that there will be some technical problems which should be studied in some meetings of experts,” he said.
“But what is important to us is that we have carried out our commitments so far and we have announced our readiness to help the Russian side even above our commitments.”
A Russian official for state contractor Atomstroiexport said on Friday funding was still the problem holding up construction.
The 1,000 megawatt (MW) generator in the Gulf port city of Bushehr will be Iran’s first nuclear power station. OPEC’s No. 2 oil producer plans to build a network of plants and says it wants nuclear power so it can maximize oil and gas exports.
Analysts say Moscow is reluctant to complete the power station and deliver fuel because that is likely to cause international outcry.
Western countries are particularly worried by Iran’s program to enrich uranium, a process which can be used to make atomic fuel or material for weapons if uranium is enriched to a high-enough level.