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Russia rejects US call to quit Iran power plant

RUSSIA yesterday rejected a request from the United States for its engineers to halt work on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station.

Russia’s state atomic energy agency is contracted to help Iran build the US$1 billion

reactor. A senior US official said on Wednesday that a Russian withdrawal would help persuade Iran to abandon a separate uranium enrichment programme.

“Every country has the right to decide for itself with whom and in what way it cooperates with other states,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a comment posted on the official web site www.mid.ru.

Only the United Nations Security Council has the power to require a state to halt cooperation and the UN body has never made any such ruling on Bushehr, Kamynin said.

The Bushehr power station is being built in compliance with all international rules and under the supervision of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, he said.

Washington and other major powers believe the uranium Iran is enriching, mainly at a research site in Natanz, could be used to build a nuclear bomb.

Speaking in Moscow on Wednesday, US Undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns said: “We believe that it would be appropriate for some countries to stop cooperation with Iran on civilian nuclear issues, including Bushehr.” — Reuter

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