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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia rejects Iran's claims it favors U.S. on nuclear issue

RIA Novosti

17:3826/05/2010 MOSCOW, May 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's position on Tehran's nuclear program is neither pro-American, nor pro-Iranian, presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said on Wednesday.

The statement comes after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a televised interview earlier in the day that Russia's support for UN sanctions against Tehran was "not acceptable to the Iranian nation."

"I hope [Russia] will pay attention and take corrective action," the Ynetnews service quoted him as saying.

Prikhodko rejected any suggestion that Moscow favored one side or the other, declaring that "Russia is unfailingly guided by its long-term government interests."

"Our position is specifically Russian, it reflects the interests of all Russia's people, and therefore can be neither pro-American nor pro-Iranian," he said.

He added that "any unpredictability, any political extremism" as well as "inconsistency in making decisions of worldwide concern" are unacceptable for Russia.

International pressure on Iran increased in early February when Tehran announced it had started to enrich uranium to 20% in lieu of an agreement on an exchange that would provide it with fuel for a research reactor.

Last week, Iran agreed to swap in Turkey most of its 3.5%-enriched uranium for 20%-enriched fuel, but the move did not stop the so-called Iran Six - Russia, the United States, Britain, France, Germany and China - from discussing a draft Security Council resolution expanding sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

The West has raised further concerns about Russia's role in helping Iran to build its first nuclear power plant in Bushehr, which is due to go into operation by late summer.

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