Iran's foreign minister was slated to meet with the head of Russia's atomic energy ministry Wednesday for talks on the long-delayed Bushehr nuclear power plant, as Moscow reportedly pushes Tehran for more openness on the state of past atomic activities.
Manouchehr Mottaki's talks with Sergei Kiriyenko come as Iran is pressing Russia to finish construction on the US$1 billion (EUR720 million) plant - Iran's first - and agree on a date to deliver nuclear fuel.
Completion of the plant has been held up by delays in Iranian payments, Russian officials say, but Iranian officials have denied delays and accused Russia of caving in to Western pressure.
Tehran insists the plant will only be used to generate electricity. But some Western nations, in particular the United States, believe that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and have pushed the United Nations to impose strict sanctions. The Security Council, which includes Russia, has demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program.
While Russia has continued to oppose a U.S. push for tougher sanctions against Tehran, Russian officials have shown growing irritation with Iran's refusal to freeze its enrichment effort.
A European diplomat last month said that Moscow had warned Tehran it would not deliver fuel to the plant unless Tehran lifts the veil of secrecy on suspicious past atomic activities.
Enriched to a low degree, uranium is used as a reactor fuel; higher enrichment creates material for a nuclear warhead. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
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It has long been understood that the West has been trying to subject Russian borders to total control. We have not seen such activity even during the Cold War