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Iran, Russia discuss continuation of peaceful nuclear cooperation

Russian Energy Ministry here Tuesday stressed continuing cooperation with Iran in peaceful use of nuclear energy, IRNA reported from Moscow.

A spokesman for the ministry said that there are no reasons to halt construction of the first phase of the Bushehr Nuclear plant or cease future cooperation between Iran and Russia in nuclear energy.

He also referred to talks held between visiting Iranian delegation to Moscow and the Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev.

The discussion with members of the delegation comprising of the deputy director of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization and head of Bushehr power plant are part of the regular biannual meetings between the two sides, the official stated.

The spokesman said the discussions focused on the construction of the first phase of Bushehr nuclear plant and its completion time frame.

Russian experts have previously said for Bushehr construction to be back on schedule will depend on a visit by Iranian representatives to Moscow in the second half of 2003.

Also, experts at the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry said in the absence of an agreement on the return of spent fuel of the Bushehr plant to Russia, 'so far, no amount of spent fuel has been shipped to the country'.

The Russians have declared that they are ready to cooperate with Iran on building another five nuclear power plants.

Meanwhile, Itar-Tass quoted Rumyantsev here Tuesday as saying that US-Iran relations will not affect Russia's cooperation with Iran with respect to the completion of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr (southern Iran).

After meeting with an Iranian atomic energy delegation on Monday he added that 'the Russian side does not see grounds to revise its obligations with regard to the construction of the first power unit at the nuclear power plant in Bushehr'.

"We will continue to fulfill our obligations despite the fact that our positions on this issue differ from those of officials in Washington," the minister said.

"We hold and will hold consultations with representatives from the US Department of Energy every month during which we discuss this issue," Rumyantsev said.

"We also meet regularly with representatives of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization," he added.

The minister added: "Iranian Vice President and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Gholam Reza Agazadeh is expected to come to Moscow in June.

One of the issues to be addressed in consultations during his visit will be the cooperation between Russia and Iran in the field of nuclear technology and the completion of the work to build the first power unit of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr."

... Payvand News - 5/28/03 ... --

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