Russia, Iran agree on completion schedule for Bushehr plant

Russia and Iran reached an agreement Thursday on a schedule for finishing construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant, which plays a central role in the international tensions over Iran's nuclear program, Russian news agencies reported. The reports cited the head of plant contractor Atomstroiexport, Sergei Shmatko, as saying details of the timetable would be released later this month. The United States and other critics have long protested construction of the US$1 billion (€0.68 billion) plant, saying it would give Iran cover for developing a nuclear weapons program. Construction at the plant has been sporadically delayed amid disputes between Iran and Russia over payment, fuel delivery and other issues. But Russia has remained opposed to a US-led push for international sanctions against Iran for allegedly seeking to develop nuclear weapons.