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6/18/04

Russia says never bows to pressures on nuclear deal with Iran

Moscow, June 18, IRNA -- Head of Russian Atomic Energy Agency Alexander Rumyantsev said here on Friday that Russia will never bow to foreign pressure to stop nuclear cooperation with Iran.

Rumyantsev, speaking in a meeting with Iranian journalists, admitted that certain countries are pressuring Russia to decrease nuclear ties with the Islamic Republic, stressing however that Moscow will never care about such positions.

"Our American colleagues criticize us that why Russia is increasing cooperation with Iran and our response is that Moscow's cooperation with Tehran is based on international norms," he said.

Rumyantsev recalled the international propaganda against Iran's nuclear energy activities, stressing that not only Iran, but also countries such as the US and Russia, still need to exploit the nuclear technology to satisfy energy needs.

He further described Iran-Russia cooperation over Bushehr nuclear power plant as constructive, stressing that both sides have always removed the faults of the project rapidly.

Rumyantsev rejected rumors that Bushehr project had been delayed as the result of foreign pressure, and said the current pressure to stop the project is non-political.

"Our international counterparts are pursuing goals beyond this," he said.

"Russia's response to them regarding the nuclear fuel which is delivered to Iran is that the Iranians will return the recycled fuel of Bushehr to Russia."

Rumyantsev said all the documents on the issue are ready to be signed by Iran and Russia, adding however that Tehran will not sign the deal for economic reasons although it has already approved it.

"Iran never knew that it must pay the costs for returning the fuel to Russia, and is currently evaluating Moscow's offers in comparison to international rates," he said.

Rumyantsev rejected claims that Iran may use Russia's nuclear expertise for military purposes.

He also rejected comments by critics of Iran-Russia nuclear cooperation that Russia's nuclear technology is not efficient and lacks the required security standards.

In response to a question that how long Russian experts will stay in Iran after Bushehr project is complete, the Russian top nuclear official said Moscow would welcome any decision by the bilateral committee that has been set up on the issue, stressing that Russian experts will stay in Iran as long as Tehran wants to.

... Payvand News - 6/18/04 ... --



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