Iran said it would start producing electricity from its first nuclear power plant by March 2010, later than expected. The news of the latest delay to the Russian-built project came as seven Arab nations told UN officials they would back efforts to block Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Speaking to reporters at the beginning of the Iranian parliamentary session, Allaeddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, said the Russian contractor ZAO Atomstroyexport planned to finish construction of the plant by the end of next year and that Iranian engineers were being trained to run the facility.
The atomic plant is being built at Bushehr on Iran's Gulf coast. Meanwhile, at the UN headquarters in New York, the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said a group of Arab foreign ministers and envoys representing Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, had given assurances that they backed the "ongoing work" of the UN Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding Iran.
"All there expressed their concern about Iran's nuclear policies and regional ambitions," the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said after hosting an unusual meeting of the Arab officials and representatives of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US. firstname.lastname@example.org