VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ Iran said it is storing fissionable material at a nuclear power plant still under construction, spokesman Hans-Friedrich Meyer of the International Atomic Energy Agency reported Saturday.

He said Iran officially notified the agency of the transfer of the material to the site near the port city of Bushehr.

The plant was under construction by the West German firm, Kraftwerke Union, but work was halted after the Iran-Iraq war started in September 1980.

The Iranian delegate to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told a news conference of invited journalists Friday about the transfer but declined to elaborate except to say the reactor was years away from operation.

Asked why authorities took the nuclear material to the site, Soltanieh reportedly said it was done to discourage Iraq from attacking other areas where it was stored.

The source of the nuclear fuel was not disclosed.

Meyer said the IAEA, which monitors matters related to peaceful uses of atomic energy, was not allowed to disclose information provided by member states.