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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran to Ink Nuclear Pact Next Week

Federal Nuclear Power Agency head Alexander Rumyantsev said Thursday that he will go to Iran next week to sign a protocol on returning spent nuclear fuel to Russia, the only remaining obstacle to the launch of a Russian-built nuclear reactor in Iran.

Rumyantsev said he will sign the long-delayed protocol in Tehran on Feb. 26, paving the way for the deliveries of Russian nuclear fuel for the Bushehr reactor, which is set to begin operating in early 2006.

The signing of the protocol has been delayed repeatedly by what Iranian and Russian officials have described as technical and financial details. Nuclear agency spokesman Nikolai Shingaryov said that the last differences have been solved and the agreement is ready for signing.

He said nuclear fuel deliveries could start within a month or two after the signing.

The protocol is aimed at reducing concerns that Iran could reprocess spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr reactor to extract plutonium, which could be used in nuclear weapons.

Security Council chief Igor Ivanov on Thursday told his visiting Iranian counterpart, Hasan Rowhani, that Moscow will continue "helping develop Iran's peaceful nuclear energy program."