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No More Russian Nuclear Construction Planned in Iran

Russia is not currently planning to build any new nuclear stations in Iran after operations start at the Persian Gulf state's first atomic plant in Bushehr, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

The Bushehr power plant is due to be fully operational soon, Bogdanov said Tuesday by e-mail. It is "premature" to speak about further plans for Russian-built atomic facilities in Iran.

Russia last month made proposals to break the impasse over Iran's disputed nuclear program under which the country would cooperate more closely with the United Nations' atomic watchdog and be rewarded by the gradual removal of international sanctions.

Iranian officials welcomed that initiative as talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany remain stalled since January. Iran favors the step-by-step approach advocated by Russia and will consider the plan, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Aug. 17 after talks in Moscow.

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency has been probing Iran's nuclear work since 2003, when it was disclosed that the government had hidden atomic research for two decades. The United States and European Union are still assessing the Russian proposals, Bogdanov said.

Iran will not sign up to the so-called Additional Protocol allowing for tougher IAEA inspections, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoun Abbasi, was quoted as saying yesterday by the ISNA news agency.

The Persian Gulf state in mid-2010 came under a fourth set of UN sanctions, which Russia supported. Russia, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, has said it will not support new sanctions against Iran.

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