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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Money Will Not Speed Up Bushehr

LONDON -- Iran's payments to Russia for building its Bushehr nuclear power station are not sufficient to speed up work on the plant, the project contractor told the Iranian official IRNA news agency in Moscow on Saturday.

Russia is Iran's closest major-power ally, and has helped water down international sanctions over its nuclear program.

But the two have clashed over payment for Bushehr, in southwest Iran. Russian officials said late last month that Iran had resumed payments, after the Kremlin had delayed nuclear fuel shipments. But they said it was still in arrears.

IRNA said Saturday that the managing director of Iran's Atomic Energy Production and Development Company, Ahmad Fayyazbakhsh, was in Moscow for talks with Atomstroiexport, which is building the power plant.

"The Iranian side paid part of its due payments in March, but they are not enough for accelerating the completion," Atomstroiexport spokeswoman Irina Yesipova was quoted as saying.

She did not give an exact time for the commissioning of the plant. IRNA said the Bushehr plant was scheduled to start experimental work in September and be operational in November, but might be delayed.

The contractor said work at Bushehr was continuing, but that there was an issue over delivering some equipment provided by a third country, which had not yet been solved, IRNA reported.