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  Tuesday, March 31, 2020
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Russia's nuclear chief said Thursday that attempts to deny certain countries access to peaceful nuclear technologies are both immoral and futile
Russia's nuclear chief said Thursday that attempts to deny certain countries access to peaceful nuclear technologies are both immoral and futile. Russia has consistently supported the right of countries to develop nuclear energy, and has come under criticism from other nuclear powers over its cooperation with Iran, where Russians are building the country's first nuclear power plant. Sergei Kiriyenko, speaking at an international conference in Luxembourg on preventing nuclear catastrophes, stressed the importance of two unconditional rights: "On the one hand, any country should have access to civilian nuclear energy, and on the other the international community should make sure that security and non-proliferation guarantees are observed." Trying to stop other countries from developing nuclear power "is becoming impossible, both from a legal and a moral point of view," he said. At the start of the conference, Kiriyenko read out an address from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president described the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a cornerstone of international security and stability, and said Moscow had been honoring its disarmament commitments under the treaty. Putin, who concluded his visit to Vienna earlier Thursday, will attend the Luxembourg conference later in the day. Kiriyenko also highlighted Russia's decommissioning of its materials for nuclear fission bombs, under its NPT commitments. The dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which some states believed is geared towards developing nuclear weapons, took a new twist on the weekend when the head of the UN nuclear watchdog publicly admitted that it was too late to force Tehran to fold up its uranium enrichment plans as demanded by the United Nations Security Council, and argued instead for inspection measures to prevent a further expansion of the Iranian nuclear program. Following his remarks the United States, which has consistently pressed for harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, said it would lodge a complaint against ElBaradei, citing concerns that his comments could undermine UN Security Council efforts. European nations have signaled their backing for Washington's position.
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