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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, IAEA to prepare for nuclear fuel deliveries to Iran

RIA Novosti

16/11/2007 18:12 TEHRAN, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the UN nuclear agency will start work on November 26 to prepare for nuclear fuel deliveries to Iran's Bushehr NPP, the Islamic Republic's vice president and nuclear chief said.

Referring to a report delivered on Thursday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Gholamreza Aghazadeh said it "stipulates that the UN agency in cooperation with the Russian government will begin, on November 26, preparing for nuclear fuel supplies for the Bushehr NPP in Iran, which will be launched in the near future."

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in the report Iran had been truthful, in general, about key aspects of its "nuclear dossier," but warned that Tehran continues to work on uranium enrichment, despite persistent international demands to fold the program.

During his visit to Tehran in October, President Vladimir Putin assured Tehran that Russia would complete the construction of Iran's first nuclear power plant on time. The statement came after repeated delays in the $1 billion project, which Moscow attributed to payment arrears, but Iran blamed on Western pressure.

Western nations suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Tehran has insisted it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity, its right under the non-proliferation treaty.

The Islamic Republic is currently subject to two sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its defiance to halt uranium enrichment, needed in both weapons and electricity production. A further round of tougher sanctions has been blocked by Russia and China.

The United States has imposed unilateral sanctions against the oil-rich Middle East nation, and media reports have said Washington is not ruling out a military campaign.

The Russian Nuclear Power Agency said IAEA inspectors would check and seal the nuclear fuel containers for delivery to Iran at a Siberian chemical plant November 26-29. "We are ready to grant the IAEA specialists with any conditions for the work," a deputy plant CEO said.

Konstantin Grabelnikov said Russia would send nuclear fuel to Bushehr once the need arises. "The IAEA is controlling the construction of the Bushehr NPP at all stages, including storage of produced fuel. Fuel will be dispatched once it is required and the relevant instructions are received," he said.

Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Gholamreza Ansari told journalists Friday Russia would fulfill its commitments and complete the construction of the Bushehr NPP. "We hope the promises we have received from Russian officials will be observed," he said.

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