Iran gets 6th delivery of nuclear fuel from Russia
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran received a sixth batch of nuclear fuel from Russia on Thursday for the Islamic state's first atomic power plant, leaving just two more to complete the total consignment, the official IRNA news agency said.
Russia delivered the first shipment of uranium fuel rods to Iran on December 17 and urged Tehran to scrap its own programme for making nuclear fuel, something it has repeatedly refused to do.
Thursday's shipment was the third in five days and came a day after Iranian leaders vowed to press on with the country's nuclear programme regardless of any new U.N. sanctions, after world powers this week agreed the outline of a new resolution.
Iran, which has so far received about 66 tonnes of nuclear fuel out of an expected total of 82 tonnes, says it also wants to make its own fuel so that it will have secure supplies in the future.
Western powers fear Iran's enrichment activities are aimed at building nuclear weapons. Iran, the world's fourth-largest crude exporter, says it needs fuel for energy. Enriched uranium can have both civilian and military uses.
World powers agreed on Tuesday on the outline of a third U.N. sanctions resolution against Iran over its refusal to halt sensitive atomic work, but diplomats said it did not contain the punitive economic measures Washington had been pushing for.
Russia and China, both commercial partners with Iran, have hardened their opposition to tough sanctions since a U.S. intelligence report last month said Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003.
Russia says the Bushehr power plant is being built under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
Tehran has said the Bushehr plant, on the Gulf coast in southwest Iran, would start up in mid-2008.
Iran, which sits on the world's second biggest reserves of gas and oil, respectively, says its aim is to build nuclear power plants with 20,000 megawatts capacity to meet growing electricity demand, so it can save its hydrocarbons for export.
(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Writing by Fredrik Dahl, Editing by Matthew Jones)
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