Powers at odds on Bushehr

19 March 2010

[Associated Press, 18 March] While Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant continues long-running commissioning tests, the USA and Russia have clashed on whether the plant should start up at all. On an official visit to Moscow, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said it would be "premature to go forward with any project at this time, because we want to send an unequivocal message to the Iranians" that they must assure the world their nuclear program is entirely peaceful. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov immediately responded that "the project will be completed and we have entered a final phase of technological preparations." Lavrov added that even slow progress at Bushehr helps to persuade Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is closely monitoring that project as well as Iran's other activities.