Atul Aneja

DUBAI: After months of wrangling, Russia is set to ship nuclear fuel to Iran’s Bushehr facility, Iranian official media said.

Iran state television quoted Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying, “Nuclear fuel for this power plant, inspected and sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is ready.” He added that cooperation between Russia and Iran for the Bushehr power plant is now “moving.”

Russia is Iran’s key partner in the construction of the Bushehr atomic power plant. But there has been a delay in fuel shipments, after Moscow cited that Iran had defaulted on payments. Analysts, however, point out that it was likely that Russia had held up fuel shipments because Iran had defied the U.N Security Council’s demand that it should halt all domestic uranium enrichment.

Iran continues to produce small quantities of enriched uranium on its own. Mr. Mottaki made the announcement during his visit to Russia. In a related development, Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has offered to work together with Saudi Arabia in the nuclear field.