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Iran nuke plant delayed

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The completion of Iran’s first atomic power plant will be delayed by more than a year, to the fall of 2008, a Russian nuclear subcontractor said.

“Today we can say for sure that to launch the Bushehr nuclear plant this autumn is unrealistic,” Ivan Istomin, the head of Energoprogress, a company doing the work for the Russian state-owned firm building the Iranian plant, told Russia’s RIA news agency.

Despite pressure from Western countries to halt work on the plant, Russia has said it will stick to the project. Iran claims its nuclear ambitions are to provide for the country’s power needs, but it’s widely believed that the Islamic republic, whose president has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map,” is trying to build atomic bombs.

The Russian company building Iran’s nuclear plant had announced a delay in its launch once before due to payment problems. The plant was supposed to open in September 2007.

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