Tehran poised to sign additional agreement with Russia on return of nuclear fuel

Tehran is ready to sign an additional agreement with Russia on the return of nuclear fuel, Iran's ambassador to Moscow Ghoulamreza Shafei told journalists on Thursday.

According to him, the text of the document has already been agreed on by the two sides.

The Iranian side is prepared to ink the document at any moment," the ambassador stressed. But, he claimed, "the Russian side encountered certain difficulties in signing this agreement, due to some administrative and ecological considerations." Upon the completion of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran intends for a period of ten years to use Russian nuclear fuel, the diplomat went on to say. According to him, Iran has uranium deposits, but they are not being developed yet. The Iranian side had from the outset contemplated using Russian nuclear fuel at the nuclear unit in Bushehr, he indicated.

Replying to the question put to him by RIA Novosti, the Iranian ambassador emphasised that Iran "has a firm intention of bringing up its energy potential to 6,000 MW, to be generated by nuclear power stations". He pointed out that even with the nuclear plant in Bushehr completed Iran would be ready "to cooperate with Russia further, in the field of building nuclear power stations".

Alexander Yakovenko, an official Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a news conference in RIA Novosti on Thursday that Russia would not supply nuclear fuel to Bushehr until after a protocol on the return of spent fuel is signed. He confirmed that there is agreement under which Russia will supply fuel for the nuclear power plant in Bushehr and recover spent nuclear fuel.

According to him, it is when the protocol on the return of the fuel, guaranteeing its export back to Russia, is signed will deliveries be made.

"Without that Russia will not supply fuel," he emphasised.

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