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Iran's atomic chief to visit Russia next week

AFP | August 30 2006

The head of Iran's atomic energy organisation will hold talks in Moscow next week on a nuclear offer from world powers and the completion of Iran's first nuclear reactor, the semi-official Mehr agency reported on Wednesday.

"Next week I will head a delegation going to Moscow to discuss the offer of the 5+1 countries with Russian officials," Gholamreza Aghazadeh told the agency, referring to a proposed deal over Tehran's nuclear programme from the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany.

The offer is a package of incentives that requires Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, a sensitive process that Tehran has refused to halt despite a looming UN Security Council deadline on Thursday for it to do so.

Aghazadeh did not specify the date of the visit.

He said he would also have discussions on "finalising the definitive date for the start of the Bushehr (nuclear) power station and when nuclear fuel for the plant will be supplied," he said.

The construction of Iran's first atomic power plant near the southern coastal city of Bushehr, being built with Russian help since 1995, is expected to be completed by the end of 2007 after a string of delays.

Russia has also agreed to provide nuclear fuel for the plant, with the supply deal committing Iran to returning any spent material.

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