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. Russian nuclear agency head to visit Iran in February
MOSCOW (AFP) Dec 30, 2005
The head of Russia's federal atomic energy agency will visit Iran in February for talks with Iranian officials, a spokesman said Friday, as Tehran mulls a Russian proposal to end a stand-off over its nuclear ambitions.

Sergei Kirienko will "visit the reactor at Bushehr that is being built by Russian specialists and will also hold talks with the directors of the Iranian nuclear programme," Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for the Rosatom agency, was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying.

Kirienko also hopes to establish a final timetable for completion of the reactor, which is set to be switched on in 2006, Rosatom said.

Russia is building Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr in the south of the country and has agreed to deliver nuclear fuel to Iran over 10 years, with the spent fuel being sent back to Russia.

The United States has accused Iran of seeking to build a nuclear bomb under the pretence of setting up a peaceful atomic energy programme.

Moscow has proposed a way out of the stand-off that would involve Russia enriching uranium on Russian soil on behalf of Iran, thereby guaranteeing its civilian use.

Iranian officials said this week they were examining the proposal, which has received backing from the European Union and the United States.

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