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Russia stresses continuation of nuclear cooperation with Iran

Moscow, June 26, IRNA -- Head of Russian Atomic Energy Agency Alexander Rumyantsev stressed here Sunday on continuation of cooperation with Iran on nuclear energy.

Rumyantsev who was speaking in a joint press conference with Head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamad Elbaradei added that Iran has signed the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has no intention of producing nuclear weapons.

"Any country which has signed the NPT is entitled to international cooperation in using peaceful nuclear energy.

We follow Iran's developments closely and supports Tehran in its cooperation with the IAEA," he added.

He also quoted the Russian president Vladimir Putin as saying that Moscow will continue its nuclear cooperation with Iran. Russia is closely monitoring the manner of cooperation and relationship between Iran and the IAEA, the Russian official stated.

He also said the recent deceleration by the Board of Director of the IAEA is a testimony to Iran's cooperation with the nuclear watchdog agency.

Elsewhere in his statements, Rumyantsev said there are no problems between Iran and Moscow over provision of nuclear waste for the Bushehr Nuclear powerplant.

"Iran is ready the sign the agreement on return of recycled fuel and is looking at international experiences on this matter."

He further said the first batch of nuclear fuel for Bushehr powerplant is ready for transfer to Iran.

He added that the powerplant is slated to be in operation by the end of 2005 and "the needed fuel should be available to Iran by that time."

He further did not rule out expediting the time frame on the part of Russia for completion of the powerplant.

Rumyantsev said here earlier in June 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.

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.

"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."

... Payvand News - 6/27/04 ... --

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