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    Iran receives second batch of nuclear fuel from Russia

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    The second shipment of nuclear fuel was delivered from Russia to Iran for its Bushehr nuclear power plant on Friday, the state news agency IRNA said.

    TEHRAN, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - The second shipment of nuclear fuel was delivered from Russia to Iran for its Bushehr nuclear power plant on Friday, the state news agency IRNA said.

    Russia supplied the first batch out of a total of 82 metric tons of nuclear fuel to be sent to the Islamic Republic on December 17. Moscow said the supplies should persuade Tehran to halt its disputed uranium enrichment program.

    "The second shipment was delivered according to the agreed timetable," Ahmad Fayyazbakhsh, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said as quoted by the agency.

    Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to the plant are to continue into February 2008.

    Iran's nuclear program has been at the center of an international dispute, with Western countries suspecting Tehran of covering up a weapons program and Iran saying it needs nuclear fuel for energy.

    The $1 billion Bushehr, being built by Russia, came under threat in February when Russia cited payment delays. Iran denied any funding problems and accused Russia of deliberately stalling the project in response to pressure from Western powers.

    Russian officials later said the Bushehr project was being carried out under the complete control of the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Spent Russian fuel is to be re-exported for reprocessing and storage, according to a bilateral Russian-Iranian agreement. In Iran, the nuclear fuel will be under UN control.

    Iran has said it will carry on with uranium enrichment activities despite nuclear fuel supplies from Russia. Tehran plans to announce a tender for the construction of 19 new 1,000-MW nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic.

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