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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia says Tehran's offer to Iran-6 reflect readiness for talks

RIA Novosti

01:48 16/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's recent proposals to six world powers on its nuclear program reflect Tehran's readiness for constructive talks, Russia's Foreign Ministry's spokesman said on Tuesday.

Iran presented a new package of proposals to the Iran Six on September 9, offering international discussions on a variety of global issues including security and nuclear disarmament. However, the "nuclear package" did not mention Iran's uranium enrichment program, and Iranian officials later made clear that it would not be part of any future talks with the West.

"We regard all Tehran's recent steps towards the proposals of the Iran Six and the calls of the IAEA for additional control over Iranian nuclear facilities as positive and promising," Andrei Nesterenko said.

"The most important thing about Iran's package is that it demonstrates readiness for thorough, comprehensive and constructive talks with the six [nations]," he said.

He also welcomed the meeting between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, scheduled for October, 1, 2009.

Iran has been under pressure to halt uranium enrichment, needed both for electricity generation and weapons production. Tehran has repeatedly rejected the demand, insisting it is pursuing a purely civilian program.

Western powers seek harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic if it does not agree to halt uranium enrichment. Russia and China, however, insist on diplomatic steps, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Ekho Moskvy radio on Thursday that Iran's proposal included worthwhile elements and could be worked with.

Russian political experts say there is little possibility of a U.S. airstrike against Tehran. Such reports were "to give Iran grounds to think that they have no other alternative than to either accept the proposals of the [Iran Six] or to deal with extremely negative consequences," said Professor Sergei Druzhilovsky from the international relations university MGIMO.

"He [Obama] will not act without the consent of the UN. I do not rule out the possibility of an airstrike completely, it could be made by Israel, for example," he said.

Meanwhile, Mohamed ElBaradei, outgoing director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reiterated on Monday his call on the Islamic Republic to clarify all outstanding issues in the dispute over its nuclear program and implement the provisions of the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.



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