FM: Russian Fuel Ready for Iran

A02537696.jpgEnriched uranium fuel is ready to be shipped from Russia to Iran’s first nuclear power plant, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here Saturday. The announcement comes after talks in Moscow between Mottaki and Russian nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko to address delays in completing the $1 billion joint Iranian-Russian Bushehr power plant.

“Nuclear fuel for this power plant, inspected and sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is ready,” he said. “We do see the trend of cooperation between Iran and Russia moving ahead for the Bushehr power plant.”

The project, Iran’s first nuclear power plant, has been beset by repeated delays due to payment problems on the Iranian side, according to the Russians. Tehran, however, maintains it is because Moscow has been caving into Western pressure to halt the project.

The US says that Iran’s nuclear power program is a cover for developing weapons and has called for further sanctions, while Tehran denies the charges and insists it just wants to master the technology to meet future power needs under the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Russian officials say the plant cannot open until six months after fuel is delivered.

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