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Tehran: Iran will soon issue global tenders for the construction of two nuclear power stations, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced on Sunday.
"Parliament passed a law for the construction of 20 nuclear power stations and the production of 20,000 megawatts of electricity," he said, referring to a recent move by deputies to bolster the country's claim to a nuclear programme.
"The decision to issue the tenders is the first step of the government to apply this decision," Mottaki added, without elaborating.
Iran is currently under scrutiny over its uranium enrichment programme. The United States has argued that oil-rich Iran has no need for atomic energy and is merely using the drive as a cover for weapons development.
Iran's only nuclear plant at Bushehr, being built with Russian help, is still under construction.
Iran repeated on Sunday said it would not bow to European Union demands that it suspend activities at its Isfahan uranium processing plant again and said any talks with the EU on nuclear issues must be without preconditions.
"The resumption of the Isfahan plant's suspension is not part of our agenda and is out of the question for us," Foreign Minister Mottaki told a news conference.
Iranian officials have said recently that they were in talks with Russia for the construction of new facilities.
Iran resumed work at its Isfahan plant last month, a move which has led to the virtual collapse of two-year-long talks between the EU and Tehran and prompted EU officials to warn Iran its case may be sent to the UN Security Council this month.
"There are some efforts to restart Iran-EU talks. We want those talks to restart without any preconditions and we welcome them," Mottaki said.
Meanwhile, Pierre Goldschmidt, who retired in July as the International Atomic Energy Agency's deputy director-general, said there had been "serious omissions" by the Iranians in providing information on their nuclear activities.
"As it stands, the investigating authority of the agency is very limited," he was quoted as saying in The Sunday Telegraph's early edition, published late Saturday. "To do its job properly it needs to have far more authority than is currently available to it."
Goldschmidt told The Sunday Telegraph that Iran was involved in a dangerous game of brinkmanship.
"It is reaching the point where it is beyond critical," he was quoted as saying. "The IAEA can only work on the basis of the facts that are presented to it, and there have been many serious omissions by the Iranians."
Moscow rejected on Saturday the appeals from the United States and other Western countries to support an initiative to submit Iran's nuclear problem to the UN Security Council, the Interfax news agency reported.
"We see no reason to refer the matter, which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is currently dealing with intensively and productively, to the UN Security Council," Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian mission to the United Nations, told Interfax by telephone from New York.
The Iranian nuclear problem can be resolved only when Iran comes to "complete" cooperation and fulfills resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors, according to the spokeswoman.
Russia expects that a planned session of the IAEA Board of Governors on Sept. 19 would hold a detailed debate on a report by IAEA head Mohamed al-Baradey and set guidelines for solving the remaining problems, Zakharova was quoted as saying.
In her view, the report prepared by al-Baradey "lays a good basis for further removing the political dimension from the work done within the IAEA framework for the earliest possible resolution of this problem," said Interfax.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko repeated Moscow's objections on Friday to referring the Iranian nuclear problem to the UN Security Council, warning against "hasty steps" in the growing crisis over Iran's nuclear program.
Talking with British Ambassador Tony Brenton, Yakovenko said "While discussing Iran's nuclear problem, the necessity of not taking hasty steps was underscored by the Russia side," according to a Foreign Ministry statement.