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Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Putin assures Iran on completing Bushehr plant on time
Russia welcomes Tehran's cooperation with UN nuclear agency
NOVO-OGARYOVO (RIA Novosti) -- Russia expects Iran's nuclear programs to be transparent and fully monitored by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
At talks with the Islamic Republic's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, at the presidential residence near Moscow, Putin welcomed Tehran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
""It's pleasant to note that contacts between Russia and Iran have intensified at all levels,"" Putin said, recalling that the Russian foreign minister had recently visited Iran.
Earlier in the day Iran had praised a U.S. intelligence report on its nuclear program which concluded it was for peaceful purposes.
The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), published on Monday, contradicted a previous intelligence assessment in 2005 which stated Iran was actively pursuing a nuclear bomb.
Jalili said Putin's visit to Tehran in October was a turning point in bilateral relations between the two countries.
""The visit pushed relations into a new stage. This concerns our government's attitude and the attitude of the Iranian nation to you personally,"" Jalili told Putin.
During his visit to Tehran, Putin assured the Iranian government that Russia would complete the construction of Iran's first nuclear power plant, Bushehr, on time.
Jalili also said at Tuesday's meeting that Tehran planned to develop a strategic partnership with Moscow.
""Our current political relations are undergoing a period of strategic partnership,"" the Iranian official said. ""The government's political desire is to make relations long-term and strategic.