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    TEHRAN POISED TO SIGN PROTOCOL ON SPENT FUEL RETURN

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    TEHRAN, February 18 (RIA Novosti correspondent Nikolai Terekhov) - The Iranian vice president and head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Golam Reza Agazade said Iran was ready to sign a protocol with Russia ensuring that Iran would return spent fuel from the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

    "We expect the protocol to be signed during the coming trip of Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev to Iran," Mr. Agazade told RIA Novosti in an exclusive interview.

    "In order to sign the document mentioned, representatives of the Russian company TVEL need to arrive in Iran and draft all the necessary documents," he said. "So far, TVEL has not come up with a final draft of the contract".

    Mr. Agazage said the Iranian side approved the spent fuel (SF) return rules. "Spent fuel return price policy has been settled and we agree to the conditions," he said.

    "Iran agrees to the SP return principles, but the appropriate conditions have yet to be worked out," he stressed.

    "Rumyantsev's coming visit to Iran will be fruitful if all the necessary documents are ready for the protocol on SP return to be signed," Mr. Agazade said.

    "There are no political hurdles that might delay the Russian minister coming to the Islamic Republic," Mr. Agazade said.

    The visit had previously been scheduled for February 18, but the Russian party postponed it until March. That decision was not motivated by the Majlis election in Iran slated for February 20.

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