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Russia/Iran: Moscow Vows To Complete Iranian Reactor

Moscow, 14 February 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russia says it fully intends to fulfill its side of the contract with Iran and complete construction of the country's nuclear power plant at Bushehr. ITAR-TASS news agency quotes Russian Deputy Nuclear Energy Minister Valerii Lebedev as saying today that Russia plans to complete construction in late 2004 or early 2005.

The United States has long urged Russia to break the 1995 agreement for the nuclear reactor, worth about $800 million. Washington says the project could advance Iran's efforts to build nuclear weapons. Moscow says that the reactor can be used only for civilian purposes and will be under international control.

Lebedev said that Russia would take back all the used nuclear fuel from the reactor for reprocessing. He said the same practice would be applied to nuclear plants Russia has agreed to build in China and India.