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Iran Hopes For Nuclear Cooperation With Russia

posted 2 Jul 2013, 09:40 by Mpelembe   [ updated 2 Jul 2013, 09:40 ]

Iran hopes to build new nuclear power stations with Russian participation, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says.

 MOSCOWRUSSIA (JULY 2, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Iran wants to broaden relations and to build new nuclear power stations with Russia's help, Iran's outgoing leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told President Putin on Tuesday (July 2).

Ahmadinejad, among other leaders of gas-exporting countries, attended the Gas Exporting Countries Forum on Monday (July 1) where President Putin pushed for long-term supply deals under which Russia exports its gas. He warned that abandoning the deals would undermine global energy security.

"Russia and Iran are the major countries in the world, measuring by their natural gas stocks. No doubt we have mutual interests. Today we also have an opportunity to talk about our bilateral relations and to talk about the situation in the region," Putin said at the bilateral meeting with Ahmadinejad in the Kremlin.

The two leaders said they would discuss the Syria crisis and also possible nuclear cooperation, as Iran is pressing ahead with its nuclear programme, and seekingRussia's help in constructing new nuclear power stations.

"The nuclear power station in Bushehr has turned into a good symbol of the bilateral cooperation between Russia and Iran. I think we can broaden our cooperation in this direction and build new power stations. The preliminary talks on this matter have already taken place and Your Excellency's directions are needed to finish the (preparatory) work and to put it into practice," Ahmadinejad told Putin on Tuesday.

Iran said recently it would continue pushing its uranium enrichment programme, signalling no immediate change of course despite the victory of a relative moderate in the June 14 presidential election.

Speaking at a nuclear energy conference in St Petersburg in June, head of Iran's atomic energy agency, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, said that production of nuclear fuel would continue "in line with our declared goals".

He also said that work at Iran's underground Fordow plant - which the West wants Iran to close - would also continue. Iran refines uranium at Fordow to a level that is relatively close to the threshold needed for atom bombs.

Iran says it is enriching uranium only to fuel a planned network of nuclear power stations, and for medical purposes.

But refined uranium also provides the fissile material for nuclear bombs if processed further, which the West fears may be Tehran's ultimate goal given thatTehran has a history of hiding some nuclear activity from U.N. anti-proliferation inspectors.