Thursday, December 13, 2007

Is Bushehr Going Ahead? Also Russia and China's New Trade Announcements

I have to say I'll believe this when I see it.

Iran and Russia have resolved all disputes holding up construction of the Islamic republic's first nuclear power station at Bushehr, the head of the Russian contractor said on Thursday.

"The difficulties with the Iranian client are resolved and we have an agreement on the timetable for construction," said the head of the Atomstroiexport company, Sergei Shmatko, at a briefing with journalists.

... ... ...

"As we've already said the fuel will be delivered about half a year before the technological start up of Bushehr.

"As this theme is too politicised we have decided not to announce the date of delivery of fuel. You'll hear of the fact of delivery when it's delivered," Shmatko said.

Maybe. I'm not sure Bushehr will become operational before the US joins negotiations. And I don't expect that to be until after the Bush presidency is over. On the other hand, maybe this time the Russians have made a different decision.

My feeling though, is that China and Russia making announcements of increased trade with Iran is a direct result of the NIE.

China's Sinopec Corp has agreed to buy from National Iranion Oil Company about 160,000 barrels per day of crude under a one-year pact for 2008, nearly tripling the current level, a trading source said on Thursday.

"The deal has been finalised," the Beijing-based trading source close to the deal told Reuters.


Trade between Russia and Iran more than doubled in January-September 2007 to $2.2 billion, the Russian co-chairman of the bilateral inter-governmental commission said on Thursday.

Sergei Kiriyenko, who was yesterday appointed by the Russian president to head state-controlled nuclear power corporation Rosatom, and Iran's Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki chaired on Thursday a session of the inter-governmental commission.

The nuclear issue, from Europe's point of view is a short-term tactical consideration, but it is now risking a long-term strategic commercial and industrial alignment by Iran away from Europe towards Russia and China.

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