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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Contractor May Bid on Iran Project

State-controlled contractor Atomstroiexport may bid to build a further two nuclear power plants in Iran as Tehran looks to continue its drive toward atomic energy.

Atomstroiexport said Wednesday that it was ready to extend its cooperation with Iran should the Kremlin approve the bids.

The contractor has nearly finished work on Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant, Atomstroiexport spokeswoman Irina Yesipova said Wednesday.

Iran will announce tenders to build a further two power plants within two months, Gholam Reza Agazade, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said Tuesday, Iranian media reported. The agency will receive $200 million from Iran's budget this year for advanced payments to tender winners.

Earlier this week, the Iranian parliament passed a resolution to set up 20 nuclear plants with a total capacity of 20,000 megawatts. The United States has expressed fears that Iran's nuclear program could produce weapons-grade uranium, used as fuel for power stations.

Washington has called for sanctions against Iran, while Russia and China have opposed them. Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful use only.

While building power stations in Iran would require political approval, Yesipova said that on a purely financial and commercial level Atomstroiexport was eager to participate.

Given Russia's close relations with Iran, Atomstroiexport could end up as a frontrunner for upcoming tenders. Iran's economics and finance minister, Davoud Danesh Jafari, told Federal Atomic Energy Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko in February that Russia would enjoy priority in future deals.