Report: Iran power plant to open next year

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Iran plans to open its first nuclear power plant in 2009, according to state news reports.

The official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday that Russia delivered nuclear fuel as part of a $1 billion contract to build the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southwest Iran, Reuters reported.

"The commissioning stage of Bushehr nuclear power station has begun and we are hopeful the power station will be commissioned in 2009 as per the agreement we have had with the Russian party," the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization was quoted as saying.

Western countries believe that Iran is interested in building nuclear weapons and that the civilian power plants are just a front.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin said Monday that the combination of Barack Obama’s election as president of the United States and the severe world financial crisis could allow diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Yadlin said at Tel Aviv University that he is not opposed to the direct talks between the United States and Iran being proposed by Obama, saying "dialogue is not appeasement." His lecture was in memory of Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan.

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