Russia: Iran nuclear plant won't be up this year

Russian officials on Wednesday dismissed claims from Teheran that Iran's first nuclear plant being built by Russia could be launched on schedule this year, saying that slow Iranian payments have made it impossible. Irina Yesipova, a spokeswoman for Russia's Atomstroixport Company, which is building the plant in Iran's southern port of Bushehr, shrugged off the Iranian officials' claims that it would be ready for launch in September as planned as "sheer nonsense." "Iranian payments have been clearly insufficient to complete the project," Yesipova told The Associated Press. She said it was impossible to say now how long it would take to complete the plant's construction. Grigory Noginsky, head of the nuclear energy committee in the upper house of Russian parliament, said the Iranian payment delays had pushed construction back by at least one year.