Last update - 10:56 17/12/2007
Russia sends first shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran power plant
By News Agencies
Russia has made its first shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran's Bushehr
plant, which is at the center of the international tensions over Tehran's nuclear program, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.
Iran contends the nuclear power plant operation in Bushehr is strictly for civilian purposes, but many critics suspect Tehran intends to use the plant as part of an alleged effort to develop nuclear weapons.
Russia's foreign ministry said Monday it had received written assurances from Iran that the nuclear fuel delivered to Bushehr will not be used for any other purpose.
A senior Iranian official said on Monday said that Iran will not halt uranium enrichment even with delivery of fuel from Russia, adding he could not yet confirm Iran had received the fuel.
"There is no talk of halting enrichment. Nothing is related to freezing enrichment. The delivery (of fuel) is not in the framework of the [UN] resolutions or the framework of talks," the senior official said.
Asked if Iran would halt enrichment under any condition, he said, "No, not at all."
Construction at Bushehr had been frequently delayed. Officials said the delays were due to payment disputes, but many observers suggested Russia was also unhappy with Iran's obstinate resistance to international pressure to make its nuclear program more open and to ensure the international community that it was not developing nuclear arms.
Last week, Russia announced that its construction disputes with Iran had been resolved.