Iran plans to launch its first nuclear power plant in 2009, Reuters reported Tuesday. The completion of the Bushehr plant, built by Russia under a $1 billion contract with the Islamic Republic, has been delayed more than once, mainly due to Iran lagging in payments. Moscow took over building the Bushehr plant on the site where an earlier nuclear project was started and neglected by German company Siemens in the wake of the Iran-Iraq War. "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," Reuters quoted Mohsen Delaviz, the spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, as saying. He did not give a more precise date. "There is a good environment prevailing in our relations with the Russians and we are hoping they will honor their commitments," he added. Atomstroyexport, the Russian firm building the plant, said in September that the plant was nearing completion and that it would start "technological work" between December 2008 and February 2009 which would put the plant on an "irreversible final" course.