Israel's DebkaFile is reporting that, according to Russian and Iranian sources, Atomstroiexport - a Russian firm that has previously been confirmed as the operator of Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant - will be putting the plans for completion into high gear with a projected completion mid-2009.
From the DebkaFile article:
Sergei Kiriyenko, director of the Russian company, visited Tehran on Nov. 27 to tie up the final stage of the reactor's construction. Kiriyenko, former Russian prime minister and personal emissary of the incumbent prime minister Vladimir Putin, again assured the Iranians that the reactor would be ready to go within a few months.
The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, begun by the German firm Kratwerk-Union A.G. (a unit of Siemens A.G.) in 1975, abandoned by the Germans in 1979, bombed by the Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq War (1985-1988), has never been online. An agreement with the Russians in 1995 for supply of a light water reactor put a timeline back on the table for completion and now it would seem that there is some extra impetus to get the first reactor online sometime next year.
Since 1998, the United States has been opposing the nuclear program there on the grounds that it was unnecessary for the region's power needs and therefore was being used as cover for the development of other technologies. Since then, it has been a focus of the world's concerns regarding the potential for Iran to develop weaponized plutonium.
My guess is that it will be finished just in time to be razed to the ground. The site is on the shores the Persian Gulf, an tactically uncomplicated strike by sea-borne assault.
Is this a casus belli in the making? An ambush? Or does Bushehr represent a real threat?