The Bushehr Nuclear Plant has finally been launched, after years of delay, at a ceremony attended by Iranian and Russian officials.

ISNA reports that all licences for the operation of the power plant were signed in the presence of Fereydoon Abbasi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Agency, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Power Minister Majid Namjoo, together with Russian Minister of Power Sergei Shmatko and Sergey Kirienko, the head of Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation. The plant was connected to the national power grid, decades after construction began in 1975.

Abbasi said: “Iran and Russia have proven a new model of atomic energy used for peace and the prosperity of humanity based on humane commonalities, mutual respect and the defence of national interests.”

The head of Iran’s Atomic Agency noted the security considerations at Bushehr Power Plant, saying: “Immediately after the events at Fukashima, our experts were told to learn from the lessons of that bitter experiences in order to raise the bar for security at our plant.”

“To this end, a special program has been approved by both Iranian and Russian experts that will be followed to the letter.”

Power Minister Shmatko announced that the Bushehr Power Plant can now produce three percent of Iran’s national electricity needs. He expressed every hope that this number would soon increase.

Kirienko, from the Russian state nuclear company, added that the Bushehr Power Plant was “a symbol of cooperation under harsh political conditions.” He added that security considerations had always been of the utmost importance for his company throughout the construction of the plant.

Bushehr is Iran’s first nuclear power plant. Its construction was significantly stunted by the advent of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which led the original German contractors to abandon the project.

Russians picked up the contract 15 years ago, and the launch of the plant was delayed on several occasions since.