Azerbaijan to release nuclear equipment to Iran

Azerbaijani official: Russian-made heat-isolators halted in late March will soon be transfered.

Bushehr 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Bushehr 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Azerbaijan will soon release a shipment of Russian equipment for Iran's first nuclear power plant that it halted at its border in late March, a senior government official said Wednesday. "The matter will be solved in the nearest future," Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told reporters. He said the Russian state company building the plant in the Iranian port city of Bushehr has presented all necessary paperwork for the heat-isolating equipment. Trucks carrying the equipment were detained at the Azeri-Iranian border on March 29. Russia's OAO Atomstroiexport has accused Azerbaijan of deliberately obstructing the cargo. Iran is paying Russia more than US$1 billion to build the light-water reactor. Construction has been held up by disputes between Teheran and Moscow over payments and a schedule for shipping nuclear fuel. The United States softened its position on the Bushehr plant after Iran agreed to return spent nuclear fuel to Russia to ensure it does not extract plutonium from it that could be used to make atomic bombs. The United States and its Western allies agreed to drop any reference to Bushehr in the sanctions resolutions passed by the UN Security Council as a result of Russian pressure. Russia says the plant's contract is in line with all international agreements aimed at preventing nuclear weapons proliferation.