Deliveries of Russian nuclear fuel to Iran to begin this summer

The deliveries of the Russian nuclear fuel to Iran are expected to begin in the summer of 2003, a staff worker of the atomic energy ministry's press service said last Thursday in an interview with RIA Novosti.

According to him, the article in the British business paper Financial Times published on Wednesday, May 28th surprised the ministry. According to its author, Russia will not begin delivering nuclear fuel for the Bushehr atomic power plant, being built now, until Iran fulfils several terms.

The paper writes that, first, Moscow demanded from Teheran additional guarantees that this type of fuel would be used for peaceful purposes only, and second, requested that it signed additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which would allow international inspectors to receive access to all nuclear facilities in Iran.

"The statement of the newspaper is surprising since Russia has not delivered and does not deliver now nuclear fuel to Iran," pointed out the staff worker of the Ministry's press service. "We plan to begin deliveries, but first Moscow and Teheran will sign an addition to bilateral international agreement," he concluded.

The point at issue is a document, which regulates the procedure of returning to Russia wasted nuclear fuel and which has been already prepared for signing.

"It is precisely a key document, and the signing by Iran of a protocol with the IAEA is of a recommendation nature since Russia is building the atomic power plant in Bushehr in compliance with all international agreements, including that on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the press service pointed out.

The staff-worker also stressed that this addition has nothing to do with the additional agreement with the IAEA which the author of the article mentions.

"Even if Teheran does not sign an additional protocol with the IAEA, Russia will continue its cooperation with this country since it does not go beyond the framework of peaceful use of atomic energy," the staff member of the atomic energy ministry's press service stressed.

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