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Russian delegation's visit to Iran postponed
Updated: 2006-01-07 09:22

A visit by a senior Russian delegation to Iran, originally due on Saturday, has been postponed, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Friday.

The visit was to persuade Tehran to accept a Russian proposal over a joint uranium enrichment venture.

Mehr did not elaborate on the delay, nor did it reveal whether the two sides set a new date for the visit.

The delegation, which is reportedly composed of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kisliak and a deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, was previously expected to formally present its proposal over the Iranian nuclear dispute.

Last month, Moscow delivered a written proposal to Iran, which called on the two countries to establish a joint venture in Russia to enrich uranium for Iran.

However, Iran said the proposal is not concrete and just can be viewed as an immature structure rather than a proposal, calling on Moscow to further complement and support it.

Enriched uranium, a key material for nuclear fuel cycle, can also be used to build atomic bombs.

Based on Washington's accusation that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons secretly, the EU insists that Iran's complete command of uranium enrichment could lead to military use of the technology.

Iran, arguing that its right to build nuclear fuel cycle is a legal and undeniable right, said that it will reject any suggestion on enrichment abroad, including the Russian proposal.

On Tuesday, Tehran announced that it had decided to resume research work on nuclear fuel in a few days. The European Union ( EU) warned that such a decision will endanger a new round of bilateral nuclear talks due on January 18.

Bilateral talks, which had been stranded since Iran resumed uranium conversion work, a precursor to enrichment, last August, resumed on December 21 as the EU expected that Tehran would accept the Russian proposal.

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