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US touts Bahrain nuclear pact as Mideast model

Allies agree civil nuclear power deal

The United States and Bahrain agreed on Monday to cooperate on civil nuclear power in a deal the State Department held out as model for nations to meet their energy needs, cut their greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the spread of sensitive atomic technology.

Bahrain said it would not seek sensitive nuclear fuel cycle technologies and would buy fuel on the international market, reducing the possibility of Bahrain obtaining the technology to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.

"This stands in direct contrast to Iran's nuclear activities," the State Department said in a statement announcing the agreement signed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa.

The department described the agreement as "a tangible expression of the United States' desire to cooperate with states in the Middle East, and elsewhere, that want to develop peaceful nuclear power in a manner consistent with the highest standards of safety, security and nonproliferation."

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to perfect the process of uranium enrichment so as to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying it wants nuclear power to be able to export more of its valuable oil and gas.

In addition to signing the agreement, Bahrain endorsed the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, a U.S. and Russian backed effort to prevent militant groups from obtaining nuclear weapons.