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. Iranian FM, Russian nuclear chief hold talks on Bushehr
MOSCOW, Sept 12 (AFP) Sep 12, 2007
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Russia's nuclear chief, Sergei Kiriyenko, held talks in Moscow on Wednesday as the Islamic republic tried to salvage the stalled construction of its first atomic power station.

Mottaki, who arrived in Moscow late Tuesday, met with Kiriyenko, the head of the state nuclear agency Rosatom, and Sergei Shmatko, chief of Russia's Atomstroiexport company which is constructing the Bushehr station.

"A great deal of work was done since the joint commission on trade and economic ties met last December, and we will analyse that work during this meeting and make more precise plans for the future," Kiriyenko said as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.

"We will discuss the work that has been done to boost not only political, but economic ties between our two states," Mottaki echoed.

However, Mottaki and Kiriyenko did not elaborate on the meeting's results.

Shmatko also refused to give details on the Russian constructor's talks with Iran, saying only that "negotiations continue and they are held in constructive manner."

Mottaki also invited Kiriyenko "to Tehran in 35 days," but no details on the meeting's possible agenda were given.

Russia started work on the plant in 1995 but completion has been delayed amid Russian complaints that Tehran is not paying on time and Iranian accusations that the United States wants to derail the whole project.

The plant is a cornerstone of Iran's controversial nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is solely aimed at providing electricity for a growing population but which the United States says masks an atomic weapons drive.

Despite the problems, Iran is now insisting that Russia is committed to finishing the plant and providing the required nuclear fuel as outlined in previous agreements.

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