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. Iran, Russia agree plan to resolve nuclear plant financing
MOSCOW, April 22 (AFP) Apr 22, 2007
Iran on Sunday agreed on a plan to resolve a financing dispute with the Russian nuclear contractor building the country's first nuclear power plant, Russian news agencies reported, citing the company.

"A protocol has been signed which establishes measures to secure the stable financing of the Bushehr nuclear power station," Atomstroiexport spokeswoman Irina Essipova told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"If the plan is successfully realized it will remove part of the questions over the financing of the building of the first Iranian atomic power station," she said.

The deal came after weekend talks between the company and Iranian officials in Moscow, she said.

Executives from the Russian company returned to Moscow last week after talks in Tehran and Bushehr on fitting out the first reactor, the news agency said.

The completion of the power station, which is 95 percent ready, and the delivery of nuclear fuel by Russia, planned for this year, has been delayed by what Moscow described earlier as financial problems.

On Tuesday, Russian security council secretary Igor Ivanov said that Russia would not be able to finish the station on schedule because of technical and financial problems.

Russia had accused Iran of not paying the amounts agreed upon in a deal reached last September. By the end of March this year, however, Moscow acknowledged that Tehran had resumed its payments.

Russia signed the original deal with Iran on the station in 1995.

Iran has been under pressure from the United States and the European Union to freeze its civilian nuclear programme.

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