Russia delivers more than half nuclear fuel to Iran: official

 


Russia has delivered more than half the fuel for Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, after a fourth consignment arrived on Sunday, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The fourth consignment of fuel arrived Sunday morning, weighing 11 tonnes at the Bushehr site" in southern Iran, IRNA quoted the Organisation for Production and Development of Nuclear Energy as saying in a statement.

Russia has so far delivered 44 tonnes of fuel, after shipments that arrived on December 17, 28 and January 18. It is due to deliver a total of some 82 tonnes of nuclear fuel in eight consignments, with the last due next month.

Iran insisted on December 30 that its first nuclear power station would be launched in the summer of 2008, despite the plant's Russian constructors saying it would not go on line until the end of the year.

"The Bushehr nuclear power station will launch at a capacity of 50 per cent next summer," said Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, quoted by IRNA.

A Russian contractor is finishing the construction of the much delayed 1,000-megawatt plant in Bushehr. Moscow also agreed to deliver the nuclear fuel required by the facility.

After delivery of the first shipment of fuel, Russia said Iran no longer needed to pursue its own uranium enrichment, a message repeated by US President George W Bush.

Tehran refuses to suspend its uranium enrichment activities despite UN Security Council resolutions and two sets of sanctions demanding the Islamic republic suspend its sensitive nuclear activities.

The five permanent members of the Security Council are scheduled to meet on Tuesday in Berlin to discuss "elements of a possible resolution" to force Iran to suspend enrichment.

Tehran denies Western charges that it is seeking nuclear arms, insisting its programme is peaceful and aimed at providing civilian energy. (AFP)

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