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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Moscow 'confused' at Iran wargame
Bushehr plant in Iran
The plant is expected to be finished in September
Moscow has expressed its confusion over wargames near Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant, which Russia is helping build.

Iranian air defence forces carried out drills near the plant last Friday without telling Moscow, BBC Moscow correspondent James Rodgers says.

He said the decision to make the news public showed Russian frustration over Iranian actions.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but the West fears it wants to build atomic bombs.

There have been disputes over payment for Russia's help in building the facility, which is in the south of the country.

Vote for sanctions

Iran angrily denied falling behind with payments and said Russia was bowing to pressure from the US over its controversial nuclear programme.

Last month, Russia joined its fellow UN security council members in voting for sanctions against Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

On Tuesday, a senior aide to President Putin regretted publicly that Iran did not always heed Russian advice on how to reduce tension over its nuclear programme.

Natanz, Iran
Iran's nuclear programme has drawn criticism from the West

On Monday, Iran had said it could produce nuclear fuel on such a scale.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was no evidence Iran had made the advances needed to produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.

The Bushehr plant is expected to be finished in September.

Russia recently sold Tehran sophisticated air defence equipment, such as the TOR-M1 anti-aircraft missile system, which drew international condemnation.




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