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Russia starts Iran nuke deliveries

Russia’s state-run Atomstroiexport Corporation has started delivering the first shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran’s Bushehr Power Plant.

“All fuel that will be delivered will be under the control and guarantees of the International Atomic Energy Agency for the whole time it stays on the Iranian territory,” AP quoted Russian Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement. “Moreover, the Iranian side has given additional written guarantees that the fuel will be used only for the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant. The spent fuel from Bushehr would be returned to Russia for reprocessing and storage,” it added. The delivery process will take up to two months to complete, Atomostroiexport said.

Iran insists that its nuclear activities at Bushehr power station are purely for peaceful purposes. Tehran and Moscow have resolved differences and agreed on a timetable to complete the construction of the Bushehr plant. “We have resolved all the problems with the Iranians,” said Sergei Shmatko, president of Atomstroiexport, the Russian contractor for Bushehr, last week. “We have agreed with our Iranian colleagues a timeframe for completing the plant,” he added. Russia had said earlier that fuel deliveries would begin about a half year before Bushehr was expected to go into service. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said on Sunday that no date could be determined for completion of Iran’s Bushehr power plant. Construction at Bushehr had been frequently postponed. According to official reports, the delays were due to payment disputes with the Russian side.

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that resolving the controversy over Iran’s program is possible “solely on the basis of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, IAEA rules and principles and, certainly, with Iran proving its right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.” He made the statement last week after a meeting in Moscow with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki. (iranmania)