TEHRAN, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel on Wednesday urged Russia to complete the construction of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant in due time, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Adel made the remarks at a press conference in response to recent reports that a Russian official had said that delivery of the plant could be put off due to delay in Iranian payment.
"In a recent meeting with Russia's National Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov, I told him that Iran regards the Bushehr nuclear power plant as a symbol of cooperation between Iran and Russia," he said.
"The power plant should be completed and delivered to Iran in due time. Russia has also taken up the issue and said it does not regard the Russian official as having the authority to put a stop to the project," Adel said.
The Speaker added that Iranian officials have made a commitment to honor their financial undertakings in the project and Russia is the one facing financial problems.
An official of the Russian general contractor responsible for the plant said on Monday that the Bushehr nuclear power plant could be delayed because of late payments and problems with equipment deliveries.
"Obviously, difficulties facing the Iranian side are affecting the construction timetable," project supervisor Vladimir Pavlov was quoted by Russia's RIA Novosti news agency as saying.
But Iran has immediately rejected the Russian claim. Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Monday that Iran did not have any delay in payment of the Bushehr plant to the Russian company.
"Up to now, the payments have been made according to the agreed schedule," Saeedi was quoted by IRNA as saying.
Located in southwestern Iran, Bushehr is the country's first nuclear power station, but work at the plant has been long delayed.
Russia and Iran signed a one-billion-U.S.-dollar contract for the construction of the plant in 1995. Under an agreement reached last September, fuel deliveries to Bushehr is scheduled to start in March and the plant is due to come on stream in September.