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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Nucléaire : compromis entre Téhéran et Moscou

by By P.B.

A Possible Iranian-Russian Nuclear Deal

Translated by John O’Neil

Translated Sunday 5 March 2006, by John O’Neil

Just a week before a crucial meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which must determine if the Iranian nuclear issue should go before the UN Security Council, Moscow and Teheran have come to an agreement regarding uranium enrichment for Iranian nuclear power plants.

Over the last few days we have witnessed an acceleration of initiatives and other diplomatic meetings on this subject. The Chinese foreign affairs minister visited Iran. Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia’s atomic energy agency, was in Teheran last weekend as was the IAEA Deputy Director, Olli Heinonen, who came for documents containing American accusations that Iran is building a military nuclear program.

The agreement between Moscow and Teheran seeks to dispel international fears of Iran producing nuclear weapons. During a press conference with Kiriyenko, Iranian Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh stated that a "joint venture" would enrich Iranian uranium on Russian soil.

Negotiations about the precise details of the agreement were to continue in Moscow and the two parties claim to be optimistic about obtaining a satisfactory result for the March 6 IAEA meeting. This would help to avoid a move toward sanctions against Iran.

Supported by the EU, the Russian plan aims to provide Iran with the necessary fuel for future nuclear power plants in exchange for Iran’s return to a moratorium on enriching uranium that could lead to nuclear weapons production.

In Moscow, the Interfax news agency, citing an official source, made it clear that the Russian delegation is linking the joint venture’s creation to the return to the uranium enrichment moratorium that Teheran broke at the beginning of the year.

Iran, claiming that its nuclear research program is for peaceful purposes, has insisted repeatedly that it intends to develop full nuclear fuel cycle capability.

The basic agreement between the two parties, together with the inclusion of mechanisms to make the Russian proposal more compatible with Iranian demands to be allowed to manage its nuclear industry, are yet to be negotiated.

[Translator’s Note]
At the time of translation, Teheran has thus far rejected the Russian deal because of the requirement to resume the moratorium, though Iran is willing to continue negotiations. Talks with the EU have also come to an impasse because of this stipulation.

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