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      Iran Blames Russia for Bushehr Delays

      Iranian lawmakers blamed "bad promises" by Russia for delays in activating the Islamic Republic's first nuclear plant.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 8/9/2011, 12:04 AM

      Iranian lawmakers blamed Russia for the latest delay in activating its the Bushehr nuclear plant.

      "The Russians keep making bad promises," lawmaker Asgar Jalalian told Aftab Yazd daily.

      "One of reasons for continued payment to the Russians is that our contract with them does not have a financial ceiling and lacks clear timing on contract termination," he added.

      A spokesman for Rosatom, Russia's state-run nuclear corporation, declined to comment on the Iranian news reports.

      "The commissioning of the plant within the time frame promised by the officials will not be possible and it is still far from getting linked to the national electricity grid," Jalalian said.

      Further delays could be an embarrassment not only to Iranian politicians who have made Bushehr the showpiece of Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but also for Russia which would like to export more of its nuclear know-how to emerging economies.

      The latest delay comes a year after fuel rods were transported into the reactor building amid great media fanfare. Iran had hoped to show the world it had joined the nuclear club despite sanctions imposed by countries that fear it is seeking nuclear weapons. It says its nuclear program is peaceful.

      The fuel was not loaded into the reactor until October and then it had to be removed due to fears that metal particles from nearly 30-year old equipment used in the construction of the reactor core had contaminated the fuel.

      Bushehr was begun by Germany's Siemens in the 1970s, before Iran's Islamic Revolution, but has been dogged by delays.

      Western nations, buttressed by reports from the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran is obstructing inspections and seeking technologies unique to nuclear weapons, are concerned Iran is pursuing an atomic bomb.

      Iran says it needs nuclear power to allow it to export more oil and gas and prepare for the day when mineral riches dry up.