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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia committed to Iran nuclear dialogue, new talks possibility

RIA Novosti

23/08/2006 12:42 MOSCOW, August 23 (RIA Novosti) - New consultations might be needed to discuss Iran's response to international proposals to resolve the dispute over Tehran's controversial nuclear program, but Russia remains committed to dialogue, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Iran responded to incentives from six nations largely aimed at persuading the Islamic Republic to end work on enriching uranium, saying it was ready for "serious talks."

"We do not rule out that once all the [six] countries have studied Iran's answer, new consultations might be needed," said Mikhail Kamynin, the Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman.

Meeting with ambassadors from the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said the country was prepared to resume talks with the six nations the next day.

"Iran is prepared to start serious talks from August 23," Ali Larijani said.

Many countries suspect Iran could use enriched uranium in weapons production, but Tehran insists it needs nuclear fuel for electricity generation and it has the right to pursue a civilian nuclear power program under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Kamynin said the international negotiators needed to make sure that further talks on the incentives package with the Islamic Republic were possible, but reiterated Russia' stance that the problem had to be resolved through diplomacy.

"Russia will continue searching for a political solution to the situation surrounding Iran's nuclear program, will seek to preserve the IAEA's role and prevent the erosion of the nonproliferation regime," the diplomat said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, has been at the forefront of the long-running dispute over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Kamynin said efforts would be made in coordination with Tehran, the six international negotiators - Russia, China, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany - and the UN Security Council as a whole.

Russia and China, veto-wielding Security Council members with considerable business interests in Iran, have been in favor of political talks with Tehran, whereas the other negotiators have been more demanding. The United States even earlier refused to rule out a military operation against the Islamic Republic.

If Iran fails to fulfill the UN demands, it might face economic and diplomatic sanctions. On July 31, the UN Security Council voted in favor of a resolution to set August 31 as a deadline for Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment activities.


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