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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran's Minister, Kiriyenko Dance Around Bushehr

Iran's foreign minister met the head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency in Moscow on Wednesday, but a Russian official said they did not tackle the vexed issue of the Bushehr nuclear plant Moscow is building for Tehran.

Russia's work on the plant has been drawn into the international dispute over Iran's nuclear ambitions, with Washington urging Moscow to halt construction.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and energy agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko were meeting as co-chairs of a Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission.

A source in the Russian delegation to the commission said Bushehr was not on the agenda for their meeting.

"It was decided to leave this off the agenda because there is a separate working group of experts who are handling this issue," the source said.

Russian contractors have repeatedly set back the completion date for the power station on the Gulf, provoking tensions between Moscow and Tehran.

Moscow blames financial problems for the delays. But many observers say Russia is stalling because it does not fully trust Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and fears an international backlash if it delivers nuclear fuel to Bushehr.

Last week, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator said an agreement had been struck with Russia on a completion date for Bushehr, but officials in Moscow denied there was any such deal.

The United States and several Western countries believe Iran is using its atomic energy program as a cover to try to build a nuclear weapon. Tehran says it only wants nuclear technology to generate power.

Russia says Bushehr poses no threat of Iran acquiring sensitive technology, but Washington has pressed Moscow to drop the project as part of sanctions on Iran.