Tags: russia | iran | nuclear

Moscow Delivers More Nuclear Fuel to Iran

Sunday, 27 Jan 2008 06:00 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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UNITED NATIONS -- The Russian news agency Ria-Novosti reported that Iran received a shipment of 11 metric tons of uranium fuel from Moscow on Saturday.

That delivery, the seventh of a total of eight, is destined for the Bushehr Nuclear Power Station on the Persian Gulf coast.

The Bushehr civilian power station, started by Moscow in 1996, is more than two years behind schedule.

It was a project originally begun by the late shah in 1977 to wean his nation from its dependency on oil.

The power plant construction was mothballed when the shah was overthrown but then resurrected with assistance from Russia in 1996.

Iranian sources now claim that the complex is expected to begin its activation process by April. When fully operational, Bushehr will be among the world's largest nuclear power stations.

With Saturday's delivery, Iran now possesses 77 out of the 82 metric tons of fuel needed to bring its nuclear reactor on-line.

While the light-water nuclear reactors at Bushehr are not at the center of Iran's standoff with the U.N. Security Council, President Bush has publicly

expressed concern that experience from Bushehr could be diverted for military use.

As such, Moscow recently agreed not only to fabricate, but to reprocess any spent fuel from the complex.

The Security Council is split on how to proceed on Iran, though a third sanctions draft resolution is expected to be circulated by Washington, London and Paris next month.

Recently, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters in Jerusalem that his government believes Iran may be operating a second clandestine uranium-enrichment program. He added that Tehran is "moving quickly" with development of a nuclear warhead and a ballistic missile to deliver it.

There was no comment from the Pentagon.

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