Saturday, February 26, 2005

Iran, Russia Postpone Signing of Nuclear Deal

The Associated Press, MSNBC News:
Last-minute disputes Saturday forced Iran and Russia to postpone the signing of an agreement to supply Iran with fuel for its first nuclear reactor, a deal strongly opposed by the United States.

The countries’ top nuclear officials had been set to sign the agreement on Saturday morning, a day after a summit between the U.S. and Russian presidents.

But after hours of delay, Yacoub Jabbarian, an official at Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters that talks had been prolonged and it was not clear when the signing would take place. He did not give the reason for the delay.

An Iranian nuclear official speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity said “deep differences” had arisen, but would not elaborate.

The agreement would pave the way for Tehran to open its nuclear reactor at Bushehr, with Russia providing it fuel then taking back the spent uranium, a safeguard meant to banish fears Iran would use it to build nuclear weapons.

Still, Washington has pressed Moscow to call off the deal, saying the Iranians could use the Bushehr reactor as part of a nuclear weapons program. ...