TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran received the eighth and last consignment of nuclear fuel from Russia on Monday for the Islamic Republic’s first atomic power plant, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Russia delivered the first shipment of uranium fuel rods on Dec. 17 and urged Tehran to scrap its own plans for producing nuclear fuel, technology the West fears Iran will use for making bombs. Tehran says its work is peaceful and has refused to stop.
The IRNA report said the whole consignment of 82 tonnes had been sent to the Bushehr plant, on the Gulf coast in southwest Iran. Tehran has said the plant would start up in mid-2008, though past deadlines have slipped.
Iran, the world’s fourth-largest crude producer, says it wants to build a network of nuclear power plants so it can preserve more of its oil and gas for export. It says it wants to make nuclear fuel itself to guarantee its supplies.
World powers agreed last week the outline of a third U.N. sanctions resolution against Iran which call for mandatory travel bans and asset freezes for specific Iranian officials and vigilance on banks in the country.
Diplomats have said the outlines agreed by Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China did not contain the punitive economic measures Washington had been pushing for. U.S. officials said the steps would still bite.
Russia and China, both commercial partners with Iran, have hardened their opposition to tough sanctions since a U.S. intelligence report last month said Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003.
Russia says the Bushehr power plant is being built under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.