Monday, September 12, 2005

Iran set to expand cooperation with Russia

RIA Novosti - World - UPDATE - Iran set to expand cooperation with Russia

MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) - The Iranian government intends to expand its cooperation with Russia, an Iranian official said Monday.

During a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Gholamreza Aqazadeh, Iranian vice-president and the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, said relations with Russia were very important.

"We have many joint projects that allow us to increase the volume of bilateral trade," Lavrov said, opening the talks. "The results of the first half of 2005 show the increasing rate of trade turnover between Russia and Iran."

Earlier in the day, Aqazadeh met with head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency Rosatom Alexander Rumyantsev and discussed the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.

Iranian officials have stated on numerous occasions that Russia has been a reliable partner in the construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Iran.

According to deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Mohammad Saeedi, Russia plays an important role in strengthening security and Tehran highly values cooperation with Moscow in technology and industry.

In the beginning of 2005, the Iranian parliament ratified a bill on the construction of new NPPs. Iran plans to construct 20 NPPs with a total capacity of 20,000 megawatts.

Russian experts are currently in the final stages of construction of the first power unit at the Bushehr NPP. The sides plan to start production at the first power unit in the beginning of 2006 and fully commission the plant by the end of the same year.

According to agreements signed in the beginning of 2005, Iran has pledged to return spent nuclear fuel to Russia.


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