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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Six opt for dialogue over threats - Russian MP

RIA Novosti

21:27 02/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - Members of the Iran Six group of international negotiators prefer dialogue to threats in talks on Iran's nuclear program, a senior Russian parliamentarian said on Friday.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, met on Thursday in Switzerland with officials from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to discuss international concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

The meeting with the 'Iran Six' came shortly after news of a second Iranian uranium enrichment site had led to calls for harsher sanctions against Tehran.

"This is the main outcome of the meeting, where the issue of sanctions against Iran was not raised directly," said Mikhail Margelov, head of the upper house's international affairs committee.

He added that "calm consideration of nuclear nonproliferation issues can only be welcomed."

He said that did not necessarily mean sanctions against Iran would not be tightened if Iran refused to "sincerely cooperate" with the IAEA.

Margelov also said that, in a dramatic development, Iran had agreed to a deal under which it would send its enriched uranium to Russia for further processing.

France would then build uranium fuel assemblies that Iran would use under international safeguards to produce medical isotopes at a domestic reactor.

However, a senior Iranian official reportedly said the deal was preliminary, denying Iran was ready to ship 1.2 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to any other country to be refined to the 20% purity needed for its reactor.

Russia's foreign minister said on Friday he was "cautiously optimistic" after the Geneva talks.

"The outcome [of the meeting] inspires cautious optimism. The most important thing now is to ensure that the agreement that has been reached is carried out," Sergei Lavrov.

Western powers suspect Iran of attempting to build nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its nuclear program is aimed at generating nuclear energy for civilian purposes.

Iran has agreed with the Iran Six to hold another round of talks by the end of October.

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