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Friday, August 29, 2014 10:01

Fate of Bushehr Nuclear Plant in doubt

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Bushehr Nuclear Plant

Despite recent statements from Iran’s Foreign Ministry announcing the imminent launch of the Bushehr Nuclear Plant, today the spokesman for Parliament’s energy commission indicated the plant's start-up is not on the horizon.

The Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported today that Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has told a press conference that all the necessary stages of preparation have been completed and the plant is now being connected to the main energy grid.

In June, the Bushehr governor had also announced that the nuclear plant was set to open in the near future. He spoke of an official launch involving Mahmoud Ahmadinejad together with Russian officials. He maintained that Iranian and Russian experts had worked together successfully to ready the plant for operation.

Today, however, energy commission spokesman Emad Hosseini said: "How long will our officials remain silent in the face of Russian perfidy?"

He said the Russians promised to launch the nuclear plant on several occasions but failed to deliver. He added: "Russia has been compromising the reputation of the Islamic Republic, and the main reason for the delays in the launch of the nuclear plant is that Russia does not want Iran to attain nuclear technology."

The Bushehr Nuclear Plant was supposed to start up last year, but in December, the Russians called for the nuclear fuel to be removed from the reactor due to technical problems.

In March, the Russian contractor Atomestroy Export announced it was reintroducing fuel into the Bushehr reactor, and plant officials made assurances that all technical difficulties had been resolved.

Iran’s Parliament has been very critical of the launch delays. In April, the head of a parliamentary probe into the delays reported that building a nuclear plant from scratch would have cost the country less than trying to complete the Bushehr Plant, which has been in the works since 1975.