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Russia delays launch of Iran nuclear power plant: report
MOSCOW (AFP) Oct 13, 2003
Russia may delay the launch of the Bushehr nuclear power reactor in Iran by one year, the ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a senior Russian atomic energy official as saying Monday.

"The Russian-Iranian commission has developed a new time frame (for Bushehr's development) in which the launch of the first energy reactor has been moved from 2004 to 2005," the unnamed ministry official was quoted as saying.

The official added that the Russia and Iran would agree on a firm date for the Bushehr project's launch in future negotiations.

Russia is building the Islamic state's first nuclear power reactor, but says it will not begin delivering nuclear fuel needed to operate the plant until Tehran signs a deal pledging to return the spent material to Russia.

Under pressure from the United States and Israel -- which fear that Iran is developing nuclear weapons -- Russia has made the return of the spent fuel a key condition for concluding the 800 million dollar (715 million euro) project.

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