Russia makes first nuclear fuel shipments to Iran

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

President George W. Bush talking today

Russia has made delivery of its first shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran's Bushehr facility, which is also being built by Russia. Both the Kremlin and the White House say that this should allow Iran to shut down its controversial uranium enrichment program.

The Russian company, Atomstroiexport, said that the shipments began on Sunday. It was also confirmed by Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

"If the Russians are willing to do that, which I support, then the Iranians do not need to learn how to enrich," United States President George W. Bush said on Monday during a visit to Virginia. "If the Iranians accept that uranium for a civilian nuclear power plant, then there's no need for them to learn how to enrich."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said in a statement: "We believe that qualitatively new conditions have been created which will allow Iran to take the steps which are demanded of it ... for the restoration of trust in the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program."

Russia says that Bushehr is being built under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, thus preventing it from being used for military purposes.

A senior Iranian official told Reuters that Iran will not stop enrichment under any circumstances, because it needs the nuclear fuel for other plants.