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Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Iran getting suspicious about Russia
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN - The Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee chairman has said that Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko’s remarks about the Bushehr nuclear power plant are strange.
“The hasty remarks by the Russians do not seem normal,” MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi told the Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.
The head of Russia’s state nuclear power corporation Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, said in February that the Bushehr plant was scheduled to become operational in 2009.
However, on Tuesday, when reporters asked him if the nuclear power plant in southern Iran would come on stream by the end of 2009 as previously scheduled, Shmatko said that it will not be possible to start up the plant before the year ends.
“The engineers have to reach their findings,” Reuters quoted him as saying. “The building of the Bushehr station is defined absolutely 100 percent by technological conditions.”
Boroujerdi said the Russian officials’ comments are strange because Russia has conducted a test run of the Bushehr power plant.
In late February 2009, Iranian and Russian nuclear officials carried out a test run of the nuclear power plant, which is located just outside the Persian Gulf port city of Bushehr.
Moscow agreed to build the nuclear power plant in 1995 and the project was supposed to be completed in July 1999, but the start-up of the reactor has been postponed several times.
Iran is currently at odds with the West over its nuclear energy program. In October, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei presented a proposal for Iran, France, Russia, and the U.S. to study, saying he hoped that all parties would make a firm response to his draft deal.
Under the draft deal, a large consignment of Iran’s enriched uranium would be shipped out of the country, probably to Russia and France, for processing into fuel rods with a purity of 20 percent, which would be used by a research reactor in Tehran that manufactures medical radioisotopes.
But Russia’s failure to fulfill its commitments in the Bushehr nuclear power plant project raises serious questions about whether Iran should send its stockpile of low-enriched uranium it has accumulated over the years to Russia, because there is no guarantee that once Russia receives Iran’s uranium, it will deliver the 20 percent enriched uranium.