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Sehaty Foreign Exchange

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Export of Czech experts to Iran cannot be prevented

PRAGUE, Aug 3 (CTK, Czech News Agency) - Czech officials have been searching in vain for three months for a way of preventing Czech firms from exporting expertise and giving advice on the completion of the nuclear power plant under construction at Bushehr in Iran , reports Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes today.

Lawyers and officials at the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Trade and Industry have come to the conclusion that while under Czech law the export of materials for use in building nuclear power plants and the export of documents or plans with information can be prevented, there is no mechanism which can be used to stop Czech firms offering advice abroad.

"It is a very sensitive matter. The United States have already intervened and we promised them that we would prevent cooperation with Iran .

Now that it has become apparent that we have no mechanism for forbidding expert assistance of Czech experts, the government must enter the game and express its disagreement with this help," one of the responsible officials, speaking off the record, told MfD.

However, the government has not yet discussed the matter and has no plans at present to do so, government spokesman Libor Roucek told MfD.

A few days ago Prague firm Skodaexport requested permission to provide expert assistance in the construction of the Bushehr plant, and both the Prague and Plzen branches of Skoda have already made inquiries about the possibility of providing such help.

"Naturally without their permission we will not do it," Skodaexport official Pavel Vrnak told MfD, who nevertheless added that since there was no law against the provision of such expert help, the company is expecting a positive reply to its application.

There is considerable demand for Czech experts around the world, because of their experience in combining western and Russian technology. The Bushehr plant is the reverse case of the controversial Temelin plant in south Bohemia, the completion of which the minority Social Democrat government recently approved.

While the construction of Temelin was begun before 1989 using Russian technology, it is being completed to western safety standards. Bushehr, on the other hand, was begun by German firm Siemens, but is being finished by Russian firms.

Some figures in business are calling for compensation for any contracts which are lost because of external pressure. "A while ago the U.S. forced Ukraine to give up a contract to supply turbo-sets for Bushehr.

During negotiations in Kyjev Madeleine Albright immediately promised compensation for the lost contract. The Czechs have never yet succeeded in negotiating similar conditions," Frantisek Svitak, director of Skoda - Jaderne strojirenstvi (nuclear machinery) told MfD.


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