By RFE RL
Sunday, September 4th, 2011
(RFE/RL) — Iran’s ISNA news agency reports that Iran’s first nuclear power plant has started adding electricity to the country’s national grid.
The Bushehr nuclear power plant, which has been hit by years of delays, came online on September 3 at about 11:30 p.m. local time.
Hamid Khadem Qaemi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said the Bushehr plant was meant to be operating at 40 percent of capacity when it’s officially inaugurated on September 12.
Started by Germany’s Siemens in the 1970s before Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the project was later taken over by Russian engineers but has been hampered by delays.
Iran is under international sanctions due to fears its nuclear program is secretly aimed at making nuclear weapons, something Tehran denies.
The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report this weekend that it was “increasingly concerned” about intelligence suggesting Iran continues to work secretly on developing nuclear weapons.