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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

War with Iran would be catastrophic - Ivanov

RIA Novosti

11/04/2007 11:36 YEREVAN, April 11 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's first deputy prime minister said Wednesday a war against Iran would lead to a catastrophe.

The Islamic Republic is under UN sanctions over failure to halt uranium enrichment, and Washington has refused to rule out a military operation against Iran as a way of forcing its compliance with the demands of the global community, which fears Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons.

"The Iranian problem needs to be resolved in a political and diplomatic way, as a threat of war is a road to nowhere, or to a catastrophe," Sergei Ivanov, Russia's former defense minister, said in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

The United States has reportedly been building up its Air Force and Navy contingent near the oil-rich Middle East nation, while Russian military officials have suggested that the U.S. could launch strikes on Iran's underground nuclear sites.

The latest United Nations resolution on the defiant regime highlights a focus on diplomacy, but accepts the possibility of a military solution to the crisis.

Ivanov admitted Tehran's "nuclear dossier" was controversial, but said the nation had the right to pursue civilian nuclear energy. He said uranium enrichment activities should be controlled by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He said Russia, which is building Iran's first nuclear power plant, has offered to provide the Islamic Republic with nuclear fuel for electricity generation and to accept spent fuel back for reprocessing. Tehran has neither accepted nor rejected the proposal.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is peaceful, said Monday it had begun producing nuclear fuel on an industrial scale, and reiterated plans to continue enlarging its nuclear fuel production capacity.

Russia said it considered to announcement doubtful, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying the claim was still unsubstantiated.

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