Russia Praises IAEA Iran Resolution

MOSCOW - Russia's Nuclear Energy Ministry said Thursday the resolution adopted by the U.N. nuclear agency this week on Iran should foster closer cooperation between Russia and Iran on nuclear power. Russia is building a nuclear reactor for power in the Iranian city of Bushehr under a $800 million contract the United States has said would help Iran develop nuclear weapons. The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted ministry spokesman Nikolai Shingaryov as saying that Wednesday's resolution from the International Atomic Energy Agency "provides an opportunity to step up Russian-Iranian cooperation in nuclear power engineering." But the prospect of increased cooperation is likely to raise further concern in the United States, which is skeptical that Iran has stopped its covert nuclear weapons program. Facing U.S. pressure, Russia has said it will not ship nuclear fuel to Iran until the two countries sign an agreement under which all spent fuel would be returned to Russia — a measure aimed to prevent it from being used for weapons — and that deal has been bogged down by disagreements. Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev is expected to visit Tehran in January for talks on the completion of the first reactor at Bushehr and prospects for further cooperation, Shingaryov said. Rumyantsev said earlier in November that it could take months to finalize the nuclear fuel return agreement. Source: AP, Itar-Tass

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