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Iran's Natanz facility designed to produce fuel for power plants: Aqazadeh

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Gholamreza Aqazadeh said on Tuesday that uranium enrichment facility in Natanz merely designed to produce fuel for nuclear power plants, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Aqazadeh rejected US accusations that his country was seeking to acquire nuclear arms.

"Once we build new nuclear power plants, there will be no guarantee to supply its fuel. Therefore, we have to take steps ourselves to provide fuel for them," he said.

Aqazadeh called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify civilian nature of Iranian nuclear activities being under supervision of the specialized agency.

"We expect IAEA to fulfill its obligations under NPT and remove obstacles created by the United States for Iran to acquire nuclear technology," Aqazadeh said.

Iran has said it will sign additional protocol for the NPT if restrictions are lifted giving it access to advanced nuclear technology, as both an NPT signatory and a IAEA member.

"We are committed to our obligations under IAEA rules," Aqazadeh said. More than five IAEA teams have visited Iranian nuclear facilities in the past two months, he added.

Aqazadeh said Russia will provide fuel for the Bushehr plant, which has a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Iran plans to produce 7,000 megawatts from nuclear energy through setting new power plants by 2021, he said.

FM spokesman reaffirms Iran's peaceful nuclear activities

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said in Tehran on Tuesday that Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful and are meant to offset domestic energy shortage.

Reacting to a G-8 statement in Evian, France, Asefi said that Iran has not taken any measure contradictory to international regulations and Tehran's programs are highly transparent and under careful and comprehensive supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He said Iran is still continuing its cooperation with the IAEA in this respect.

He voiced Iran's opposition to proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction, saying that the proposal by Tehran to turn the Middle East into a nuclear free zone stands a testimony to this assertion.

Asefi said Iran expects the G-8 members too to honor their commitments to Iran, which is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), transparently because if transparency is two-way, it would lead to mutual confidence and constructive cooperation, leaving no room for disputes and concerns.

He welcomed the formation of a working group for campaign against terrorism, saying Tehran is ready to contribute to collective campaign against the inhumane phenomenon of terrorism.

Putin: Iran, Russia will continue their joint nuclear programs

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared in Paris on Tuesday that Russia is determined to continue its nuclear cooperation with Iran.

He told a press conference on the sidelines of the three-day Group of Eight summit in the French city of Evian that such cooperation will be supervised by international bodies.

"We have had nuclear cooperation with Iran, a neighboring country, and intend to continue it," he added.

He added that Iran-Russia joint nuclear cooperation will be subject to the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors nuclear activities.

Putin said that the level of Russia's cooperation with other states depends on the transparency of their performance and their coordination with IAEA observers.

According to the broadcast by the French LCE Television News, Russian nuclear authorities have been calling on their Iranians counterparts to provide the grounds for inspection of nuclear sites by IAEA observers to avoid any suspicions.

President Jacques Chirac in a television address on Monday night pointed out that there is no need to make any special provisions in Iran-Russia nuclear agreements.

"Given that such cooperation is not likely to prompt Iran to produce nuclear weapons, there is no need to include any provision in the mutual nuclear ties between the two states," Putin added.

Meanwhile, Iran-Russia nuclear collaboration was discussed by President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin in their meeting at Saint Petersburg, but no agreement was reached on the issue.

Moscow has always assured other countries including the United States that all nuclear cooperation between the two states comply with international agreements and the treaty banning the expansion of nuclear weapons.

... Payvand News - 6/4/03 ... --

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