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Russia Begins Delivering Fuel to Iranian Nuclear Power Plant


Iran has confirmed receiving Russia's first shipment of fuel for Tehran's nuclear power station in Bushehr.

Iranian news agencies ISNA and IRNA quote the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, as saying Monday that the 82 tons of fuel in the shipment are for the Bushehr plant's first year of operation.

President Bush during a visit to Virginia says he supports Russia sending enriched uranium to Iran for civilian power use because he says it means Tehran has no need to pursue its own enrichment capabilities.

Russia's Foreign Ministry also urged Iran to take the opportunity to halt enrichment. In a written statement, the ministry said Moscow believes that "qualitatively new conditions" have been created, which it said would allow Tehran to take the steps demanded by the West to halt uranium enrichment.

But a senior Iranian official today rejected the calls, saying Iran will not halt uranium enrichment, even with the delivery of fuel from Russia.

Earlier, Russia's Foreign Ministry said the fuel delivered to the Bushehr station will be under the control and guarantees of the International Atomic Energy Agency while it is in Iranian territory.

Tehran argues that nuclear work in Bushehr and elsewhere is strictly for civilian purposes. But the United States and its Western allies have accused Iran of using the programs as a cover for developing nuclear weapons.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.