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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran's nuclear program to be discussed on sidelines of UN session

RIA Novosti

16:38 03/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's controversial nuclear program will be discussed on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on September 15, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

Foreign Ministry political directors from the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany met in Frankfurt on Wednesday to discuss suspicions surrounding Iran's uranium enrichment activities. Tehran has pledged new proposals to ease the concerns.

"We have confirmed a two-track policy as well as our readiness to meet again 'in the field' at the UN General Assembly in New York to evaluate the further development of the situation," the countries said in a joint statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

Western powers are seeking harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic if it does not agree to halt uranium enrichment before the end of this month. Russia and China, however, insist on a purely diplomatic approach.

Iran has been offered economic incentives from the six powers if it suspends uranium activities. Tehran has consistently said it will never give up its nuclear program, which it needs to generate electricity.

Vladimir Sazhin, an analyst at Russia's Institute of Oriental Studies, said on Wednesday that Western powers were unlikely to persuade Russia and China - both veto-wielding Security Council members - to approve a fourth round of sanctions against Iran.

"We have again confirmed our policy goal and emphasized the need to reach results on a diplomatic track. We emphasized that the road to a negotiated solution for Iran is still open," the document read.

"Iran does seem to have softened its position somewhat. I mean it has allowed accesses to the earlier classified nuclear facilities in Natanz, and Iran said it had prepared a package of proposals to overcome the crisis, but I believe these are only maneuvers," Sazhin said

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, will gather on September 15 to look into Iran's nuclear ambitions.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said earlier this week that there was no evidence that Tehran was developing nuclear weapons, and that the Iranian nuclear threat has been "hyped." However, he urged Iran to be more transparent in its dealings with the IAEA, to ease international concerns.


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