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Iran slams Europe for "double standards" in nuclear research


TEHRAN, January 8 (RIA Novosti) - Europe's "double standards" in nuclear research are unacceptable, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Sunday commenting on the European Union's statement condemning Iran's plans to resume nuclear research.

Hamid Reza Asefi, the ministry's spokesman, said that nuclear research had nothing to do with nuclear fuel production.

The EU and the United States have expressed concerns that Iran might pursue nuclear research for military purposes, as uranium enrichment, which is part of nuclear fuel technology, can be used both to produce nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor fuel.

Tehran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency Tuesday that Iran would resume practical research in nuclear fuel technology early next week, Asefi said, adding that Iran, like the other parties to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, had the right to carry out nuclear research under the IAEA's supervision.

IAEA inspectors have arrived in Iran and are expected to take seals off Iran's nuclear research sites early next week. The local media refer to informed sources as saying that it might happen even on Sunday.

About two years ago, Tehran suspended its uranium enrichment programs after negotiations with the "EU Troika" consisting of France, Germany and Britain.

Asefi's comments followed the EU's statement Saturday expressing regret that Iran declared its plans at a time when international confidence in its nuclear development program was far from being restored.

The statement also said that the resumption of the program would jeopardize further negotiations with "the EU Troika" on the issue.

A Russian delegation arrived in Tehran Friday to discuss the establishment of a joint venture to enrich uranium on Russian territory, a proposal initiated by Moscow and backed by the EU and the U.S.

The Russian and Iranian negotiators are also expected to focus on the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.

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