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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, US Disagree on Referring Iran to Security Council for Nuclear Issue

15 October 2005

Russia and the United States did not agree on measures to pressure Iran on its nuclear program during talks between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and top Russian officials. Moscow says referring the issue to the United Nations Security Council is not the way to proceed.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared to make little headway in her Moscow meetings on the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia is confident that Tehran is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and has a right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But Secretary Rice disagreed with him, saying that Iran is not living up to its obligations under the treaty, and is not being clear about the full extent of its nuclear ambitions.

Ms. Rice came to Moscow for a brief overnight visit primarily to discuss Iran, as the United States is considering whether to refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council.

Russia strongly opposes such action, saying the issue should be handled within the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Mr. Lavrov says Iran could not develop weapons covertly using technology supplied by Moscow.

Iran wasn't the only item on the agenda of talks with both Mr. Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin, who met with Ms. Rice at his residence outside Moscow.

Mr. Putin noted the secretary had come to Moscow after a tour of Central Asian countries, and the two discussed her trip there.

Ms. Rice visited three of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, where she spoke of the need for democratic change to accompany economic development in the region.

She also made stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which suffered a devastating earthquake a week ago.

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