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Putin Confident Iran Is Not Pursuing Nuclear Weapons

Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo) 18 February 2005 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that he is convinced Iran is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Putin made the remarks at the start of talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rohani, in Moscow.

"Iran's latest actions convince us that Iran indeed does not intend to produce nuclear weapons, and it means that we will continue our cooperation in all areas, including in nuclear power generation," Putin said. "Of course we hope, dear Mr. Rowhani, that Iran will strictly adhere to all of its obligations."

He said that Russia will continue to develop cooperation with Iran in all fields, including civilian nuclear energy.

Russian engineers have been helping Iran complete a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, which is due to become operational later this year.

Western countries have expressed concerns that the nuclear fuel spent at Bushehr could be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Moscow and Tehran expect next week to sign a new agreement under which Iran would be obliged to send spent nuclear fuel back to Russia.