A Russian nuclear subcontractor said Iran's first atomic power plant in Bushehr would not be finished before autumn 2008, a delay of more than a year to earlier plans, RIA news agency reported on Wednesday.
"Today we can say for sure that to launch the Bushehr nuclear plant this autumn is unrealistic," said Ivan Istomin, the head of a subcontractor working for the Russian state-owned firm building the plant, RIA reported.
"A realistic time frame for starting the reactor... is moving to autumn 2008," He said. Istomin, is head of Energoprogress, a subcontractor of Atomstroiexport.
Russia has come under a strong pressure from the West, which suspects Iran of seeking to develop its own nuclear weapons, to give up its project to build a nuclear power station for Tehran.
Russia has said it will stick to the project. But in February it delayed the launch of the plant – planned for September 2007 – citing payment problems. The plant has been repeatedly delayed by Russian companies.
The contract to build the Bushehr plant, in southwest Iran, is worth about $1 billion to Russian companies.