Tehran says Western countries have resorted to misinformation in an attempt to force Moscow out of the Iranian nuclear market.
In a Monday interview with RIA Novosti, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki suggested the West has launched a misinformation campaign against his country to force an end to Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran.
“Certain powers have sought to question the nature of Tehran-Moscow nuclear cooperation. It should be noted that their objective is to vie with Russia for Iran’s nuclear market,” Mottaki said.
The construction of pressurized water nuclear reactors in Bushehr began in 1974. However, the partially-complete power plant was damaged during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
Before starting its nuclear cooperation with Russia, Iran had agreed to a contract with Germany for the construction of the Bushehr power plant.
However, under diplomatic pressure applied from the United States and the imposition of an embargo on high technology supplies to Iran in the 1990s, the German contractor — Siemens — refused to resume work on the facility.
Russia, however, has been working closely with Iran to revive the country’s nuclear facilities over the past decade and is currently helping the country construct a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr.
The launch of the plant has been delayed for many years, while many experts cite Western pressure on Russia as the main reason behind the delays.
Russian envoy to Tehran Alexander Sadovnikov said in August 2008 that the construction had faced setbacks due to the “sanctions imposed by Western powers”.
Iran’s foreign minister told RIA Novosti on Monday that the delay in the construction of the Bushehr facility “is rooted both in Western pressure and the differences between Russian and German nuclear technology used in the plant.”
The US argues that Iran has sufficient oil and gas reserves for power generation and that it therefore needs no nuclear reactors.
Iran — a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — says that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes and that it will help the country use its oil and gas resources for export.
World powers have offered Iran a package of incentives to win the hearts and minds in the country.
The Iranian minister addressed the issue by saying that “the lack of an assurance by the West about the supply of nuclear fuel to Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station justifies Iran’s stance in continuing enrichment.”