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RIA Novosti

VIENNA, March 2, (RIA Novosti's Borislav Pechnikov) - A treaty between Russia and Iran on the return of spent nuclear fuel, signed on Sunday in Tehran, is of positive significance, an informed source in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a RIA Novosti interview in Vienna. He is attending a session of the IAEA board of governors.

The source stressed that "this agreement between Moscow and Tehran is all the more important considering Iran's desire to produce its own nuclear fuel, for which, according to IAEA experts, Tehran will have facilities and potential."

"The treaty to build the nuclear power plant in Bushehr and to return spent nuclear fuel to Russia will open the way for cooperation with Iran in nuclear energy on the basis of observance of nuclear safety and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty," the source said.

In the source's view, "had Russia refused to build the nuclear plant in Bushehr and supply nuclear fuel for this plant, Iran could have sought suppliers elsewhere, and in that case hardly anyone would have borne responsibility for Tehran's safe handling of spent fuel."

The source emphasized that "Russia is an experienced member of the nuclear club, and is perfectly aware of its responsibility to the world community for the safe operation of the Bushehr plant and for the future of the nuclear fuel supplied to Iran and subject to return to Russia."

According to the source, "although the current Vienna session of the IAEA board of governors did not discuss the Russian-Iranian agreement in this sphere, most of the board members realize that this is a very timely treaty, one which can clear the way for safe cooperation with Iran in the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy".

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