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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 16:18, March 02, 2005
A new step in nuclear cooperation between Russia and Iran
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Russia and Iran reached agreement on fuel supply for the Bushehr nuclear power station on Feb 27. In accordance with two documents signed by Alexander Rumyantsev, chief of Russia's nuclear energy agency and his Iranian counterpart Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Russia will provide nuclear fuel to Bushehr nuclear power plant, and Iran agrees to return the used nuclear waste to Russia for disposal. The new step towards cooperation in nuclear power has aroused extensive attention at the international community.

The negotiation between Russia and Iran is not easy. The timetable for providing fuel remains as the biggest divergence. For Iran, acquiring nuclear fuel is a crucial step, because Russia will have to carry through the construction of the nuclear power plant to the end once the fuel is delivered to Iran. Russia is not likely to retreat under pressure. So Tehran began to urge Russia to supply nuclear fuel as soon as possible for the store for nuclear fuel had been built already, the media in Moscow reported.

It is an international practice to deliver nuclear fuel to power plant half a year before power plant's construction is completed. Russia has kept to the practice in nuclear power station construction home and abroad. At present, 80 percent of the Bushehr nuclear power station has been built, and the mounting will end ten months later. After that, about nine months are needed to test the equipment. Analysts said Russia will probably provide the fuel to Iran in first half of 2006, but Rumyantsev didn't reveal a date after singing of agreement. He said Russia will strictly observe relevant regulations of the IAEA in supplying 100 tons nuclear fuel to Iran. Perhaps to avoid strong reactions of the US, spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry said the signing of agreement doesn't mean Russia will start providing fuel to Iran promptly. Rumyantsev also stressed at a press conference held in Moscow that the power station will not improve Iran's capability to produce nuclear weapons.

The US reckons that Russia's supply of nuclear fuel will facilitate Iran's development of nuclear weapons; and Russia's request to return all nuclear waste intents to shut the mouth of the US. So far the US has not react to the agreement, but a Republican congressman has proposed to dispel Russia out of the Group 8. An EU spokesperson said Feb 28 in Brussels that the Iranian-Russian agreement is "compatible" with approaches of EU.

The EU doesn't' hope to see Iran with nuclear weapons, but it does not oppose peaceful application of nuclear power. The agreement between Russia and Iran has no link with France, Germany and the UK's negotiation with Tehran. The spokesman said EU noticed that Iran and Russia promised to abide by the non- Proliferation treaty and will be subject to supervision of the IAEA. Authorities said the agreement has finally removed obstacles for building the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Both countries will speed up the construction, but the quarrel is likely to continue if the US does not cease intervene. Russia has put a lot into the Bushehr power station. Almost all factories and research institutes of Russia are engaged in this program. The number of Russian experts sent to Iran has amounted to 2, 000. It has become increasingly difficult for Moscow to give up cooperation with Iran in nuclear energy just for outside pressure.

By People's Daily Online


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