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Iran, Russia to Discuss Nuclear Cooperation, Fuel - 2003-11-10

Iran's top nuclear official is scheduled to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in Moscow Monday. The talks are expected to focus on Russian-Iranian nuclear cooperation, including a long-delayed agreement on the return of spent fuel.

The Iranian official, Hassan Rowhani, is expected to discuss the signing of an agreement, in which Iran would agree to return spent nuclear fuel to Russia.

Russia is building Iran's first nuclear power plant in the port city of Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf. But Moscow has so far refused to deliver any fuel until Iran agrees to return the residue of the fuel after it is used. The spent fuel can be used to build nuclear weapons.

Foreign Minister Ivanov is also expected to use Russia's influence to encourage Iran to sign an additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency, as it has promised.

The protocol would provide for stricter inspections of Iran's nuclear program, which some western officials fear is aimed at secretly acquiring nuclear weapons.