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Russia calls on Iran to join uranium centre

Russia has called on Iran to participate in the setting up of the first-ever international uranium enrichment centre.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 11:59 IST

Russia has called on Iran to participate in the setting up of the first-ever international uranium enrichment centre here in which other nations seeking civilian nuclear energy may also be involved in the near future.

"Such a centre may also involve other countries, which seek to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of the Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency told reporters here on Wednesday.

Kiriyenko said that he would hold wide-ranging talks on the issue with his Iranian counterparts during his coming visit to Tehran on February 24-26.

"I am planning to visit Iran on February 24-26, for a session of the Russian-Iranian inter-governmental commission to discuss cooperation not only in the nuclear sphere, but also the entire range of issues related to the cooperation between the two countries," he said, while referring to the Russia's proposal to set up a joint venture on its territory to enrich uranium for Iranian nuclear power plants.

Kiriyenko added that Russian proposal was still open and Tehran was examining it.

An Iranian delegation is expected to arrive here on February 16 to hold negotiations with the Russian side, he said.

However, he clarified that under the proposed joint venture, Iran will not have access to the nuclear technology.

Tehran has hinted that it may accept the offer, but only if Russia provided guarantees that all enriched uranium will be returned.

Kiriyenko said that a draft document on an international uranium enrichment centre would be high on the agenda during his talks, in Tehran.

"Our plan is to put forward proposals to Iran on peaceful uses of nuclear energy and show the world that this is possible, with a strict non-proliferation regime in force," he noted.

"We would want to build abroad facilities for 60 GW over 25 years; this is 60 plants," he pointed out.

"Russia would orient itself mostly towards markets of South East Asia, as increasingly more electric energy is needed each year in this rapidly developing region," Kiriyenko said.

Currently, Russia is building three nuclear power plants in India, China and Iran.

Last week, it presented a bid for participating in a tender for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belene (Bulgaria).

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 11:59 IST