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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia still believes in peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program

RIA Novosti

20/03/2009 15:27 MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow has seen nothing to convince it that there is a military element to Iran's nuclear program, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told journalists on Friday.

"The Russian Federation continues to believe that there are no signs of the [Iranian nuclear] program being switched toward military goals, and that it is of an exclusively peaceful nature," Ryabkov said at a press conference in Moscow.

The United States and other Western nations suspect Tehran of secretly seeking nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is purely aimed at generating electricity.

The United States has cited Iran's controversial nuclear program as one of the reasons behind its plans to deploy a missile base in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic. The missile shield has been strongly opposed by Russia, which views it as a threat to its national security. The dispute has strained relations between the former Cold War rivals, already tense over a host of other differences.

Ryabkov also welcomed the decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to send a video message to the Iranian people congratulating them on the Iranian New Year, saying that it was "important for us that the new [U.S.] administration is making advances to Tehran."

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