Payment row delays Iran nuclear plant launch
MOSCOW: The launch of Iran's Russian-built nuclear power plant will be postponed because of Iranian payment delays, Russian officials said yesterday in statements reflecting Moscow's growing irritation with its close partner and a possible warming to Western-proposed sanctions.Gulf Daily News
However, Western nations seeking tighter UN sanctions on Iran have offered some compromises to try to overcome Chinese and Russian objections but will still face resistance when talks were due to resume later yesterday at the UN headquarters, diplomats said.
Russia also said the delay of the launch, which had been planned for September, means that the uranium fuel needed to power the Bushehr reactor would not be sent this month as earlier planned, an announcement certain to anger Tehran.
Sergei Novikov, spokesman for Russia's federal nuclear agency Rosatom, said the launch date would be postponed by at least two months because the Iranians had made no payments since January 17.
"The funding is two months behind, and that means a corresponding delay in schedule," Novikov said. "The fact remains: there is no money, and it's impossible to keep construction works going without money."
Russia has accused Iran of paying only a fraction of the required monthly payments of $25 million (BD9.45m) for construction work at Bushehr in recent months. Iranian officials rejected Russia's claims.