Russia defends Iranian nuclear programme

Under pressure from the United States, Russia said today that one of the two nuclear power plants it is building in Iran has been cleared by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    Putin: Forced by US to clarify
    nuclear ties with Iran

    Russia’s Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said the IAEA had recently inspected Iran’s nuclear power plant at Natanz and found it had not violated any international safeguards.


    Rumyantsev denied reports that Moscow would refuse to deliver nuclear fuel unless Tehran gave UN monitors full access. 


    "There is no link," said Rumyantsev when asked about a Russian press report that Moscow would only supply the fuel if Iran signed an additional protocol of the international nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).


    He said recent inspections found the country was not violating any rules. Inspectors searching the site at Natanz found it corroborated Iran's declaration that it was using its nuclear installations to obtain the ability to carry out the entire cycle of producing nuclear fuel, he said.


    The IAEA had found no evidence of fissile material and concluded the plant was not violating IAEA rules, Rumyantsev added.


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    Meanwhile, a top presidential adviser Andrei Illarionov  said Moscow would go ahead with full cooperation with Iran after the international nuclear agency gave the go-ahead to the other reactor at Bushehr.


    Illarionov, who is also President Vladimir Putin's economic adviser, told a press conference that Iran should provide full access to UN nuclear inspectors to lay to rest international concerns about its nuclear programme.


    Russia has contested US accusations that Iran is using its nuclear sites to develop nuclear weapons.


    IAEA inspectors have been carrying out inspections in Iran since February, ahead of a report expected to be issued this month on the country's nuclear activities.


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