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Iran ready for uranium enrichment JV with Russia

Iran is ready for setting up a joint venture in Russia for uranium enrichment and a site has been identified for N-fuel production.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2006 20:48 IST

Iran is ready for setting up a joint venture in Russia for uranium enrichment and a site has been identified for nuclear fuel production, Russian atomic agency chief said on Friday.

The joint venture proposal is supported by both US and European Union as a way of preventing Iran, which has opened the seals of International Atomic Energy Agency on its nuclear facilities, from enriching uranium to levels that would help it make atomic weapons.

"Russia's proposal to enrich uranium for the Iranian nuclear industry on its territory is extremely interesting for Tehran, which is ready to move to detailed discussions on this idea," Chief of Federal Atomic Energy Agency Sergei Kiriyenko said in a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Kiriyenko said "Iranian partners" are due to arrive within next few days and negotiations are constantly in progress.

"We are fully prepared, up to the point where production units are ready," Kiriyenko said.

According to reports in Moscow, Tehran is to send its negotiators to Moscow next month to discuss details of the Russian proposal.

President Putin told Kiriyenko that nuclear safety must be kept in mind in implementing the project.

Under the proposal, Russia will help Iran enrich uranium at low levels, for generating energy. Highly-enriched uranium forms the core of atom bombs.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow's willingness to go ahead with the uranium enrichment venture with Iran, while saying Tehran must roll back on its moratorium.

First Published: Jan 20, 2006 20:48 IST