Bushehr Iran nuclear facility
Iranian technicians at work at the Bushehr Nuclear Plant in Iran, November 2009. Photo by AP
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Russia's nuclear chief said Thursday that the startup of Iran's first nuclear power plant, set for this weekend, will demonstrate that Iran is entitled to peaceful use of nuclear energy under international supervision.

Sergei Kiriyenko said Thursday at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the launch of the nuclear reactor in Bushehr will also show that Russia respects its obligations.

Russia signed a $1 billion contract to build the plant in 1995, but its completion has been put off for years.

Delaying the project has given Russia continued influence with Iran in international attempts to have it stop uranium enrichment - a program Iran says it needs to make fuel for an envisaged reactor network but which also can be used to build atomic weapons.