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Iran: N-plan 'should be signed'

An agreement would require Tehran to return Russian-supplied nuclear fuel from Iran's Bushehr plant.
An agreement would require Tehran to return Russian-supplied nuclear fuel from Iran's Bushehr plant.

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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Iranian Vice Prime Minister Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said a protocol providing for additional inspections of Iran's nuclear program "should be signed," but Iran first wants to know more about what its additional responsibilities will be.

Aghazadeh told reporters Wednesday: "We want the responsibilities to be clarified, and we want the demands to be clear, transparent and concrete."

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, is slated to visit Tehran July 9 to discuss what would be involved in the inspections. (Full story)

Iran has been under mounting international pressure to allow further inspections of its nuclear program. Tehran insists the program is intended only for civilian uses, such as electric power production.

Russia, which has agreed to provide nuclear fuel for the program, also has been among the nations arguing that Iran should accept more stringent inspections.

At a briefing in Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush said he spoke Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Iran.

"I thanked him for keeping the pressure on the Iranian government to dismantle any notions they might have of building a nuclear weapon," Bush told reporters.

"And we're making progress on that front," he said. "Not only does Vladimir Putin understand our concerns and shares the concerns, the EU for example has sent out a very strong statement to the Iranians that the world expects them to conform with the IAEA, to cooperate with the IAEA, and to get rid of any plans to develop a nuclear weapon."

Aghazadeh denied Iran is making any additional demands on the IAEA. Iran has said it might be willing to sign the additional protocol on inspections if the international community provided it with technology for the peaceful use of atomic energy.

Aghazadeh was in Moscow on a four-day visit to discuss nuclear and political issues.

Appearing at a news briefing with Aghazadeh, head of Russia's atomic energy ministry, Alexander Rumyantsev, said a bilateral agreement requiring Iran to return Russian-supplied nuclear fuel from Iran's Bushehr plant is ready to be signed.

He said the agreement calls for Iran to return spent fuel from the plant to Russia for reprocessing, a step that would prevent that fuel from being used to produce nuclear weapons.

Rumyantsev denied reports that Russia is dragging its heels in preparing the agreement. He said the nation is studying the ecological aspects of the agreement and when those are complete it will be signed immediately.

Aghazadeh met with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and other Russian officials and visited several sites connected with the civilian use of nuclear energy.

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