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Russia Announces Support for IAEA Resolution on Iranian Nuclear Program


The Russian nuclear energy minister says he has not seen anything to suggest that Iran is close to making atomic weapons, but he says Russia supports the resolution approved by the International Atomic Agency Board last week, demanding that Iran come clean on its nuclear program. He made the remarks in Vienna, where the IAEA is holding its general conference.

The Russian minister, Alexander Rumyantsev, told reporters that he supports last week's resolution. The resolution called for Tehran to fully disclose its nuclear program by the end of October.

The Iranian delegation walked out of the meeting in protest against what it called, the poisonous language of the resolution.

Mr. Rumyantsev said Iran does not have much experience in the field of nuclear energy and does not know how to manage spent fuel.

Russia is constructing a nuclear power plant in Iran at Bushehr and is currently negotiating with Tehran on the return of all spent fuel to Moscow. An agreement was expected to be signed this week in Vienna, but Mr. Rumyantsev said there are still some technical points to be finalized.

The United States is concerned that Iran could reprocess spent fuel to produce plutonium that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran says it needs the plant to supply its 66 million people with electricity. The Bushehr plant is expected to go on line next year.

Mr. Rumyantsev said scientific nuclear research going on in Iran could be used for civilian or military purposes, but there is no evidence the work is of a military connection.

Minister Rumyantsev said there is no indication the Iranians have the research and technical capabilities that would enable them to develop nuclear weapons. And he says numerous inspections by the IAEA have not revealed such capability.

Mr. Rumyantsev also said Russia did not provide any design information for a heavy water plant that Iran has built in the town of Arak. Experts say the plant's existence is an indication that Iran has a nuclear-weapons program.

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