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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Obama to set nuclear deadline for Iran - Russian analyst

RIA Novosti

12:43 02/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 2 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian analyst has said that the U.S. and other Western states were likely to set a deadline for Iran to address growing concerns over its nuclear program.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Monday that "time is running out for Iran" to show the international community its readiness to continue a dialogue on its nuclear program.

"I think Obama will set a deadline for Iran," Vladimir Sazhin, senior researcher at the Academy of Sciences' Institute of Oriental Studies, said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

"If I'm not wrong, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said the deadline is New Year's Eve. So, I don't think there will be any radical decisions on this issue before the New Year," the Russian analyst said.

He added that despite Tehran's rhetoric that sanctions would be ineffective, the Islamic Republic was alarmed by the possibility.

"I believe that Iranians are probably worried by the current situation more than they were two years ago," Sazhin said. "They have also been alarmed by what Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on this issue, that tougher sanctions could be approved against Iran."

Medvedev said earlier the country could support sanctions if Iran fails to allay Western doubts over the peaceful nature of the program.

Iran, which is already under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, recently announced plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities. Tehran insists it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity, claiming the right under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) censured Iran for withholding information on its controversial nuclear program in a resolution last week. It also urged Iran to freeze construction of its newly revealed uranium enrichment facility in Qom.

The resolution was endorsed by Germany, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, the six nations involved in long-running nuclear negotiations with Iran.

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