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Iranian, Russian officials stress on transparency of nuke cooperation

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Gholamreza Aqazadeh and Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev, speaking in Moscow on Wednesday at the end of the second round of their talks, stressed on the transparent nature of the Moscow-Tehran nuclear cooperation, IRNA reported.

Aqazadeh said at a joint press conference with the Russian nuclear energy minister that the two countries' nuclear cooperation was quite fruitful and that they would definitely continue according to their original schedule.

He said that in his meetings with different Russian officials they had conferred over various matters, including bilateral cooperation, and political matters.

Aqazadeh stressed that the political will is strong and firm on both sides for the expansion of the two countries' nuclear cooperation, as well as the expansion of ties in other fields.

In response to a question on probability of signing the International Atomic Energy Agency's additional protocol by Iran, he said, "Russia's encouragement for signing the Additional NPT pact is from an amicable and positive nature."

He added, "Iran is not totally against the measure either."

Ruling out existence of any relation between signing the said protocol with the construction and completion of of the Bushehr Nuclear Reactor, he said, "The IAEA is obliged to lift any obstacles in the way of the expansion of nuclear activities for peaceful purposes."

Aqazadeh further emphasized, "Iran asks for clarification of the IAEA's obligations, and transparency in its policies, and such demands are both natural and legitimate rights.

In response to a question whether he thought the US criticism would end if Iran would sign the additional protocol, he said, "We seriously doubt the United States' good will regarding our nuclear projects."

The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization added, "That too, is a point that will be clarified in near future."

He appreciated the stands adopted by Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the comments made by President Vladimir Putin on the two countries' transparent nuclear cooperation, evaluating them as the Russian side's strong political will to fulfill its commitments regarding its deal with Iran.

Aqazadeh said, "There are currently no obstacles on the way of importing the required nuclear fuel for the Bushehr Plant from Russia, or for the return of the used fuel to that country, and just signing the additional agreement in that respect would suffice."

He expressed hope that the nuclear fuel produced in Russia for Iran would be forwarded to Bushehr in very near future.

The Iranian top nuclear authority described the Iran-IAEA cooperation, too, as "Positive and good", referring to 60 visits by the UN nuclear watchdog agency so far, in which they have inspected all Iranian sites and companies related to the issue.

Rumyantsev, too, said during the interview that the two countries' nuclear cooperation was both transparent and fully in accordance with the related international norms and regulations.

Regarding the shipment of the nuclear fuel need for Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Reactor, he said, "Presently the Russian environmentalist specialists are busy studying the various aspects of returning the used nuclear fuel from Iran and once they are through with their studies, the nuclear fuel would be forwarded to Iran."

He said that both sides have agreed to sign an additional agreement on the return of the used nuclear fuel.

Rumyantsev also once against repeated the Russian Federation's strong political will to perform all its commitments towards Iran regarding the completion of its Bushehr Nuclear Reactor, and putting it in operating conditions.

He said that one reason for the present delay in completion of the Bushehr project is that the original German parts had to be fully replaced with Russian equipment.

The Russian minister added, "I hope the Bushehr Nuclear Reactor would be completed by fall of 2003, and then it will be time to go to the additional agreement, which will pave the way for forwarding the required fuel."

Rumyantsev added, "The Bushehr Nuclear Reactor is unique in the world in many ways, including its very special building, that was made by the German architects."

The Russian nuclear energy minister without naming any particular country, said, "Naming a particular country and accusing it of having nuclear ties with Iran is a part of an unjust competition."

He emphasized, "According to the IAEA reports, there is not even slight violation of the international laws in Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran."

In response to a question regarding the penalty for each side if they violate the agreed upon terms and conditions, Rumyantsev said, "Issues related to awarding, or penalizing will be finalized based on understanding and related contracts."

... Payvand News - 7/3/03 ... --

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