MOSCOW — The Bushehr nuclear power station being built in Iran by Russia is nearly complete and should be launched within the year, Iran's ambassador to Moscow said in an interview published Friday.
"Ninety-five percent of the work has been completed," Ambassador Mahmoud Reza Sajadi told the daily Gazeta.
"The Russian and Iranian sides will be ready to launch the plant in the second half of 2009."
The Iranian envoy's comments coincided with remarks Thursday from Sergei Kirienko, the head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), who also forecast the launch of the Bushehr facility would take place this year.
The completion of Bushehr — a project Russia took over from the German company Siemens in 1994 — has been delayed repeatedly amid tensions over Iran's nuclear program which the West fears conceals a military project.
The West accuses Tehran of seeking to develop atomic weapons but the Iranians say their nuclear program will only be for civilian purposes.
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