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Iran positive on Russian uranium plan - reports
Updated: 2006-01-25 17:05

Iran is "positive" about setting up a joint venture with Russia to enrich uranium on Russian soil, Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

The proposal, which is designed to prevent Iran gaining technology that could be used for military purposes, was a main theme of Larijani's talks in Moscow.

"We assess this suggestion positively. This plan can be perfected in the course of our talks coming up in February," he was quoted by local news agencies as telling reporters in the Russian capital.

He said the plan could well involve other countries.

Iran has said over recent weeks it was prepared to discuss any proposals for joint production of atomic fuel, but not as a replacement to its domestic program, insisting it has every right to enrich the uranium it mines in its central deserts.

Iran announced a restart of nuclear fuel research on January 9, leading negotiators from Britain, France and Germany to decide to push the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

But Larijani said Iran would move to industrial production of uranium if the IAEA decided to pass its case to the Security Council for discussion, Interfax and Itar-Tass news agencies reported.

"If the governing council (of the IAEA) puts political pressure on the agency to transfer our dossier, then this will be a useless step for the world and security in the region in general," he said.

"In those conditions, our activities will not be limited to scientific research. Then we will start industrial production."

The IAEA is due to meet next week on the issue.

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