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Russian nuclear offer to Iran to stay open - deputy minister


TEHRAN, February 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's proposal to establish a joint venture to enrich uranium for use in Iranian power plants will remain in force even if Iran re-imposes a moratorium on nuclear research, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Kislyak said Wednesday.

"If our Iranian friends decide to re-impose the moratorium on those programs that have been causing concerns in the International Atomic Energy Agency, all opportunities to resolve problems on the basis of cooperation through a joint venture in Russia will still be in force," Kislyak said after talks with Iran's top negotiator Ali Larijani.

Russia has offered to enrich uranium for Iran on its own territory, in order to allow Iran to continue its nuclear power development program at the same time as easing international fears that Tehran could use the technology to produce nuclear weapons.

Those concerns were sparked last month when Iran removed the seals from nuclear research facilities, thereby abandoning a two-year moratorium on its nuclear fuel program.

Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told journalists that the country would resume uranium enrichment if the "nuclear file" on the country were passed to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions on the country.

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