Russia and Iran agree on Bushehr

Russia and Iran have resolved a dispute over payments to construct the Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran.

The dispute’s resolution paves the way for completion of the plant, and plans to deliver uranium fuel rods are already under way, the New York Times reported.

Earlier this year Russian state contractor Atomstroyexport slowed construction on the power plant, accusing Iran of lagging behind in its $25 million-per-month payments.

Irina Esipova, a spokesman for Atomstroyexport, said the parties had come to a “single understanding of how to resolve these problems,” according to the Times report. She did not elaborate.

There has been much speculation on why progress at the nuclear site has been slow. Some suggested Russia was receptive to Western concerns that Iran’s nuclear power program was part of an illicit weapons program and used the payment issue as an excuse to slow work at the plant, while others said the slowdown was solely financial.

It’s unclear whether Russia’s announcement this week that it is resuming construction at Bushehr is related to the release last week of a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that said Iran halted its illicit nuclear weapons program in 2003.

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