Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Russia shows its support for Iran's nuclear program

MOSCOW: Russia reiterated its support yesterday for Iran’s nuclear programme and said all questions about it should be handled by the international nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna.

“Our common position is that we have to continue to deal with all the questions raised through the IAEA,” the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after holding talks here with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki.

“This way we can find a decision acceptable by all sides that, on the one hand, allows Iran its lawful right to a peaceful nuclear energy program and, on the other hand, does not allow any doubts about the peaceful character of this activity,” Lavrov said.

Mottaki offered a similar view.

“Iran’s nuclear aims should not be politicised,” he said, adding: “All Iranian nuclear questions should be resolved through the IAEA.”

The United States and the European Union fear that Tehran could use a nuclear energy programme to camouflage development of nuclear weapons. Russia is the main foreign contractor in construction of Iran’s first nuclear power station and has defended Tehran’s right to develop nuclear energy.

Earlier this month, Lavrov and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice openly aired their differences over the issue. The Russian minister defended Tehran’s “right” to nuclear energy, while Rice retorted that Iran also had “obligations” under nuclear the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Diplomats in Vienna said on Thursday that Iran has provided new information about its controversial uranium enrichment programmme to visiting international nuclear inspectors.

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