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Iran, Russia sign nuclear fuel contract

Iran and Russia signed a contract on Sunday for the sale of nuclear fuel to Iran, provided that Iran returns the spent fuel to Moscow, reports Iran’s official news agency IRNA.

One of the key documents which was signed on Sunday has “set a date for return of spent fuel,” said Deputy for International Affairs and Planning of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Muhammad Saidi.

Experts say that in order to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons with spent fuel, Russia conditioned delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran on an agreement assuring all spent fuel would be returned to Russia.

Head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Alexander Rumyantsev, arrived in Tehran late Friday. Rumyantsev visited Bushehr atomic power plant Sunday, where he signed the contract.

Rumyantsev and his Iranian counterpart Gholam Reza Aqazadeh held lengthy talks and after some delays decided to conduct their joint press conference on Sunday, said Saidi.

Selling Russian nuclear fuel to Iran will enable the reactor in Bushehr to become operational this year. The United States, accusing Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons, has pressed Moscow to abandon the project.

Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Saturday that, “any delay in the commissioning of the Bushehr power plant in the current situation is not justified.” In a meeting with Alexander Rumyantsev, Rafsanjani said: “We expect that Moscow, without being influenced by pressures from Iran’s political enemies, will turn this important project into a historical symbol of good cooperation between the two countries.”