Following are excerpts from an interview with Mohammad Sa'idi, international affairs deputy in the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, which aired on Jaam-e Jam 2 TV on September 26, 2006:
Mohammad Sa'idi: The main equipment of the [Bushehr] power plant is already installed: The core of the reactor and the turbine, which is large and very important. Four steam generators are also installed next to the reactor.
Interviewer: Their job is to generate steam?
Mohammad Sa'idi: Yes. These are the three main components of a nuclear power plant, and they have been fully installed.
Interviewer: So where is the problem?
Mohammad Sa'idi: The problem now... The main problem has to do with some cables, which need to be installed. As you know, approximately 4,500 kilometers of cable need to be installed in the Bushehr nuclear power plant. We still need to install 1,000... 1,000 to 1,200 kilometers of cables. In addition, there are some valves. Since these are very sensitive valves, they are now being manufactured in Russia. Some have been manufactured, brought here, and installed. Others are being manufactured now, and the Russians have promised to deliver them to Iran within the next two to three months. When they are delivered, they will be installed immediately.
Interviewer: Aren't these part of the main equipment?
Mohammad Sa'idi: No, it's all peripheral equipment. There is also a ventilation system, which is currently being manufactured, and according to the plan, it will be delivered to Iran and installed, within the next four or five months.
Interviewer: Have you reached the conclusion, in the talks, that the delay in the completion of the power plant is a technical, rather than political, problem?
Mohammad Sa'idi: You've raised a good question. I have never thought that the [delay] in building the Bushehr nuclear plant stems from a political problem. In recent years, ever since the contract was signed, there have been two main problems. The main problem regarding the building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which still remains and which we are trying to resolve, is the managing structure of the Russian contracting company.
Over the past decade, Russian companies have become governmental or private companies. We are not talking only about the Atomstroyexport company, the contractor for the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Other important Russian companies were in a similar situation: They would become governmental companies for a six-month period, and then private companies for six months. The company's executive director and board of directors were replaced 11 or 12 times, each time becoming either governmental or private. This, in itself, created delays in the construction of the power plant. The power plant had to face anther problem: Due to these structural changes, the management was not good.
Interviewer: [IAEO chief] Mr. Aghazadeh protested [in Russia], saying that if the Russians do not complete the power plant, Iran would do it itself. Should this be viewed as a bluff, or is it true?
Mohammad Sa'idi: This is by no means a bluff. As I said, in light of the equipment that needs to be completed... I should point out, to you and the dear viewers, that one of the critical stages of this project was the need for these 4,500 kilometers of cables. At a certain point we realized that the Russian contractor was saying that they had sent the order for cable production to some European companies, which were unable to produce them. We told them right away that there are companies in Iran that are capable of making [these cables]. We introduced these companies to the [Russian contractor], and said that it could have these very sensitive and hi-tech cables produced by the Iranian companies. Four months ago, [the contractor] submitted its proposal to the Iranian companies. 180 kilometers of these sensitive cables are now being produced in Iran.
Although the delay in building the reactor is not political, the Russian government delayed the fuel transfer for political reasons.
Interviewer: What is the current situation?
Mohammad Sa'idi: The Russian government has made a commitment to transfer the fuel to Iran in March 2007.
Interviewer: From where should the fuel...
Mohammad Sa'idi: From Russia.
Interviewer: From where in Russia? Are there security reasons for not announcing it?
Mohammad Sa'idi: Yes. The fuel will be transferred from its place of production. It has already been produced, and it is ready for...
Interviewer: We are talking about 90 tons, right?
Interviewer: Do the Russians have to insert the fuel into the power plant?
Mohammad Sa'idi: Precisely. They have to commission and operate it, and hand it over to...
Interviewer: They have to load 30 tons?
Mohammad Sa'idi: Exactly.
Interviewer: And 60 tons will be stored...
Mohammad Sa'idi: No. We need 90 tons of fuel for the first load, but for the other loads we will need 30 tons.
Let me draw your attention and that of the dear viewers to statements by the head of the society... the Council of Persian Gulf Unity... or something.
Interviewer: The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council...
Mohammad Sa'idi: Yes. A while ago, he said that the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council members should also have nuclear technology. A long time ago, Egypt told us that as soon as Iran makes progress in resolving [its nuclear] issue, Egypt too would pursue nuclear technology. Algeria and Saudi Arabia are in a similar situation. In fact, Iran has created a new phenomenon for the world. It should be noted that this issue has influence European countries, and even Latin American countries. Venezuela, influenced by Iran's nuclear program, wants to develop its nuclear program, and do does Colombia. Argentina, as you know, shut down its uranium enrichment program for about twenty years. About a month ago, it notified the IAEA that it wants to resume enrichment.