Iran Nuclear NewsClinton raps Russian plan to launch Iran reactor

Clinton raps Russian plan to launch Iran reactor

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ImageReuters: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said that Russia's plan to start up the nuclear reactor at an Iranian power station was "premature" without further assurances on Tehran's nuclear program. ImageMOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said that Russia's plan to start up the nuclear reactor at an Iranian power station was "premature" without further assurances on Tehran's nuclear program.

As Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks in Moscow, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would start up the reactor it is building at the Bushehr plant in the summer of 2010.

When asked about the plan to start up the plant, Clinton said: "Iran is entitled to civil nuclear power; it is a nuclear weapons program that it is not entitled to."

"If it reassures the world, or if its behavior is changed because of international sanctions, then they can pursue peaceful, civil nuclear power," Clinton said

"In the absence of those reassurances, we think it would be premature to go forward with any project at this time because we want to send an unequivocal message to the Iranians," she said.

Lavrov, speaking alongside Clinton after talks in Moscow, responded by saying the Bushehr plant was key to maintaining the presence of the U.N.'s nuclear agency in Iran.

"Bushehr plays a special role in maintaining the IAEA's presence in Iran, in ensuring that Iran is complying with its non-proliferation obligations," Lavrov said.

(Writing by Conor Humphries and Steve Gutterman; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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