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Russia says has rejected Iran's requests to develop uranium mines

Moscow, Feb 12, IRNA -- Russian Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Valery Govorukhin here on Tuesday stressed that Moscow has rejected Tehran's repeated requests to develop uranium deposits, stressing that Iran has no capabilities to create its own uranium fuel cycle.

The Itar-Tass quoted Govorukhin as saying that Moscow has repeatedly told Tehran that Russia's cooperation with Iran in the area of nuclear activities is confined to the construction of one nuclear power unit in Bushehr, nuclear fuel supplies throughout the unit's life cycle and recycling of spent fuel in Russia."

President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday announced that Iran had started excavating uranium ore from a mine, 200 km from the central city of Yazd, to produce fuel for its nuclear plants.

The announcement provoked new allegations from Washington when the US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said "Iran's ambitious and costly pursuit of a complete nuclear fuel cycle only makes sense if it's in support of a nuclear weapons program."

The charges were rejected by Iran on Monday when the Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said that the natures of Iran's nuclear programs was "peaceful and totally transparent".

Govorukhin said that Iran had solicited cooperation for mining uranium from other parties as well at the sessions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"There has been no one eager to cooperate with Iran in creating a full uranium fuel cycle there," the Russian official said.

Govorukhin further said that he believed the recent remarks by the Iranian President Mohammed Khatami about Iran's efforts to start uranium mining "looked like a political one," stressing that this is not backed up by either technological or financial resources

... Payvand News - 2/12/03 ... --

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