Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday his country was ready for immediate talks with world powers over a nuclear fuel swap deal, AFP reported.
According to AFP, Ahmadinejad said Iran was "ready to resume in late August or in early September" talks with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council over an exchange of enriched uranium.
The United States, the European Union and the UN Security Council have imposed sanctions on Iran over a nuclear program the West suspects is aimed at developing atomic weapons.
Last week, Russia said it will begin loading nuclear fuel into the reactor of Iran's first atomic power station on August 21, an irreversible step marking the start-up of the Bushehr plant after nearly 40 years of delays.
Russia agreed in 1995 to build the Bushehr plant on the site of a project begun in the 1970s by German company Siemens, but delays have haunted the e1 billion project and diplomats say Moscow has used it as a lever in relations with Tehran.
Despite U.S. criticism of the plan, Russia's nuclear chief said Thursday that the startup of Iran's first nuclear power plant will demonstrate that Iran is entitled to peaceful use of nuclear energy under international supervision.
Earlier this week, former U.S. envoy to the United Nations John Bolton told the Fox Business Network that Israel was unlikely to attack Iran's nuclear reactor in Bushehr, which will soon be online, adding that the Russian-built facility represents a major step forward for Iran's nuclear weapons aspirations.
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