Iranian and Russian workers cooperating at the Bushehr reactor core (file photo released by Iranian government) (epa)
8 January 2006 -- National security representatives from Iran and Russia have resumed nuclear negotiations on forming a joint consortium for uranium enrichment on Russian soil.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi called the trend of the talks in Tehran positive. He expressed hope that the two sides would reach a settlement while maintaining Iran's right to pursue nuclear technology. The first round of the talks on 7 January ended inconclusively but with both sides vowing to continue the dialogue.
Javad Vaeidi of the Iranian National Security Council denied that Russia is threatening to stop cooperation on building a nuclear power plant at Bushehr in an effort to push Tehran into accepting the enrichment plan.
Vaeidi also rejected the European Union's 7 January warning to Iran not to resume research work. Some Western powers suspect Iran's enrichment program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons -- which Iran denies.
Iran has also been criticized by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for a number of failures to disclose information relating to nuclear activities.
(dpa and other news reports)
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