Russia Gives Iran Nuclear Fuel

Says Tehran has promised not to develop weaponry
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2007 7:58 AM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, walk past two Iranian Achaemenid Emperor's soldier (580-529 BC) statues as they attend an official departure ceremony...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Russia delivered nuclear material to Iran yesterday, the BBC reports, ignoring Washington’s protests. Russia says it has assurances that the plutonium will only be used for the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, which is being built by a Russian company, but the US says that spent uranium could be used in weapons development. The plant could be operational within six months.

Russia has long delayed building the plant, saying Iran was behind on payments, but many analysts say international pressure had more to do with it. But the UN approved the deliveries now that the US intelligence estimate has alleviated anti-Tehran sentiment, leading Russia to cast aside the most significant sanction against Iran—but risk yet-tenser relations with Washington.