Iran Nuclear NewsAzerbaijan frees Russian cargo for Iran atom plant

Azerbaijan frees Russian cargo for Iran atom plant

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ImageReuters: A Russian cargo detained in Azerbaijan on its way to Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant has been allowed to cross the border into the Islamic Republic, the Azeri Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

ImageBAKU (Reuters) – A Russian cargo detained in Azerbaijan on its way to Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant has been allowed to cross the border into the Islamic Republic, the Azeri Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

"The cargo has been allowed to cross over the border," a ministry spokesman said.

Heat insulators for the nuclear plant were stopped at Astara, on the Azeri-Iranian border on March 29, Russian officials said.

The delay raised tension between Russia and Iran, with each saying the other should do more to persuade Azeri authorities to free the cargo.

Azeri officials had said it did not have the right permit. Russia said the correct documents were supplied with the cargo.

Russia has already delivered nuclear fuel under a $1 billion contract to build the Bushehr plant, on the Gulf coast in southwest Iran, and Iranian officials say the reactor is likely to be started up in 2008.

Russia signed a contract to build the plant in 1995 based on an earlier project begun in the 1970s by the German firm Siemens. The project was disrupted by Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

The United States and Russia say the plant means Tehran does not need to enrich uranium itself. Iranian officials say it is their right to have a domestic enrichment programme.

Russia has tried to press Tehran to be more open about its nuclear programme and has warned the West against backing Iran's leaders into a corner.

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