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Iran and Russia End Trading in Dollars

Iran and Russia replaced the U.S. dollar with their national currencies in bilateral trade, Iran's state-run Fars news agency reported Saturday, citing Seyed Reza Sajjadi, the Iranian ambassador in Moscow.

The proposal to switch to the ruble and the rial was raised by President Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Astana, Kazakhstan, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ambassador said. The meeting was in June of last year.

Iran has replaced the dollar in its oil trade with India, China and Japan, Fars reported.

The European Union, the United States and the United Nations are applying sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Iran says its nuclear efforts are for civilian purposes and to generate electricity, while the United States and several major allies say the program represents a weapons threat.

Meanwhile, Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant will reach full electricity-generating capacity on Feb. 1, Fars news agency reported Sunday, citing Fereydoun Abbasi, head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization.

The plant's 1,000-megawatt maximum output will meet 2.5 percent of the Islamic Republic's power needs, Abbasi was cited as saying. Iran is ready to export nuclear energy services to nations such as those in Africa that hold uranium resources, he also said.

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