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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Helps Iran With Nuclear Plant

NICOSIA -- Russian experts are to help Iran complete its Bushehr nuclear power plant, started before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, a senior plant official has said. "Russian experts" are "finishing their technical studies on the power plant and it" is "predicted to become operational by the end of the second five-year development plan," Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted the official as saying Thursday. Iran's second five-year development plan was due to start in March but is still being discussed by its parliament. IRNA quoted the official, whom it named simply as Mr. Khabir, as saying the nuclear power plant, located on the Gulf coast 750 kilometers south of Tehran, would provide Iran with one-seventh of its electricity needs once completed. Iran has said its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes, although the United States, strongly hostile to Iran, has said it fears Tehran is building a nuclear weapons industry. International Atomic Energy Agency experts have inspected several nuclear sites in Iran and have not reported any evidence of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Russian experts would also set up a gas power station next to the plant, the agency quoted the official as saying without giving more details. Work on the plant started in 1974, five years before Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution. IRNA said that by the end of 1978, 80 percent of the plant's first reactor and 60 percent of its second reactor had been built. But the plant was heavily damaged in the Iran-Iraq war.