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Russia says when Iran's nuke plant will be completed

Russia has finally agreed a completion date for Bushehr, the nuclear power plant it's building in Iran. Details will be released later this month. The breakthrough came during high-level talks between the two countries in Moscow.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and the head of Russia's Federal Nuclear Energy Agency, Sergey Kirienko, tried to iron out all their differences during talks in Moscow. 

But until concrete dates are set, stumbling blocks over nuclear co-operation between the two countries remain. 

The Bushehr atomic power plant, which is being constructed by Russia, has been a frozen project for some time. The work was halted because of Moscow’s claims of disrupted financing from the Iranian side. 

But even though both sides have now said the project will be successfully completed, no one has so far said 'when'.

Nevertheless, Kirienko stressed the significance of agreements signed during the meeting, saying that the two countries “have a tremendous potential for future co-operation”.
Iranian nuclear programme – point of contention
Even though ties between the countries are strengthening, the issue most keenly watched both in Russia and in the international community, remains uncertain. 

Iran's nuclear agenda has long been a bone of contention between members of the UN Security council's six parties – particularly the United States. 

Washington is preparing for further economic sanctions against Tehran, despite Russia’s calls for more talk and less punishing action. 

“If there’s no fuel supply, the Iranian side could say that it has no guarantees and that it has to produce fuel itself. So in order to avoid potentially tense situations we need to supply fuel to Iran and know that Iran will not use it for building nuclear weapons. It’s in the contract between the two countries that used fuel will return to Russia,” Vladimir Pavlov, Vice President of Atomstroyexport, a constructing company of the Bushehr power plant.

Wider co-operation between Russia and Iran

As the unseen tug of war continues, Moscow and Tehran choose to shift focus and expand bilateral horizons. 

During his visit, Manouchehr Mottaki also met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and discussed many issues, like increasing co-operation in the fields of science, economy and tourism.

Even a joint gas company has been suggested, drawing much attention to the fact that both sides want to think outside the nuclear box.