Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed support for the Russian “step by step” plan to end the international disputes over Iran’s nuclear program. He said the Islamic Republic is willing to join in proposing ways to promote cooperation.

IRNA reports that Ahmadinejad was meeting with Nicolai Patrushev, the head of the Russian National Security Council, when he said: “It is necessary to take real and positive steps in order to guarantee the continued growth of mutual cooperation between our two countries, and the launch of the Bushehr Nuclear Plant could be that sort of effective and positive step.”

Russia’s “step by step” plan proposes that Iran be rewarded with the loosening of international sanctions and restrictions every time its responds to a question or concern about its nuclear activities from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Patrushev said Russia is prepared to do its share in promoting bilateral and regional relationships, and in assuring the launch of the Bushehr Nuclear Plant.”

Russian contractors are helping to complete Bushehr, Iran’s first nuclear power plant, but the launch has run into several delays in recent years.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also travelled to Russia on Tuesday to discuss nuclear issues and the “step by step” plan.