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Russia, Iran to create joint venture for Bushehr: official

Russia and Iran will establish a joint venture to operate Tehran’s first nuclear plant set to come online this summer, Sergei Kiriyenko, chief of Russia’s nuclear state corporation, said on Tuesday.

Russia has been helping Iran build its first nuclear plant in the southern city of Bushehr since the mid-90s but its launch has been marred by a series of delays and the issue is hugely delicate amid a standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme.

“This country is only embarking on the path to peaceful nuclear energy and does not yet have enough experience in maintaining such installations,” the Interfax news agency quoted Kiriyenko, the head of Rosatom nuclear corporation, as saying at a nuclear conference.

“We have agreed that our experts will work as part of this joint company and maintenance of the station will be implemented by the staff of our two countries for the next few years.”

Kiriyenko reiterated the power plant would be ready to come online by the end of the summer.

Tehran is accused by the West of planning to build a nuclear bomb although it insists its nuclear drive is purely peaceful in nature.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in March the launch of the nuclear power station in Iran would be premature amid efforts by the West to put pressure on Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme.