Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor 311 Reu.
(photo credit: Raheb Homavandi / Reuters)
TEHRAN - Russia will look to revive nuclear talks between Iran and the world's biggest economic and military powers this week, hoping its special relationship with Tehran can help jolt back to life negotiations that some analysts consider "dead in the water."
Presidential Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev is due to meet his Iranian counterpart and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran on Monday and is expected to raise a Russian plan to restart the talks that collapsed in January.
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US President Barack Obama in July of Moscow's "step-by-step" approach under which Iran could address questions about its nuclear program and be rewarded with a gradual easing of sanctions imposed by countries that fear Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge it denies.
With Israel and Washington both keeping open the possibility of launching preemptive strikes on Iran to stop it getting nuclear weapons, the negotiations are a possible way of avoiding what analysts say would be highly risky military action.
But after the failure of the last talks, between Iran and the five
permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, Russia,
China, Britain and France, plus Germany (known as the EU3+3 or P5+1),
in Istanbul in January, few analysts expect a breakthrough.
Russia backed a fourth round of UN sanctions against Tehran in June 2010
but has criticized tighter measures imposed unilaterally by the United
States and the European Union and emphasized its opposition to military
So Tehran might be more receptive to an approach from Moscow than one
from the West - the E3+3's delegation is led by EU foreign policy chief
Not only is Moscow not part of the Western alliance Iran sees as its
greatest enemy, it is also involved in developing part of the Islamic
Republic's nuclear program, as builder of its first atomic power plant
at Bushehr on the Gulf coast.
"Russia has maintained a long-standing relationship with Iran,
effectively it is a partner in Iran's nuclear program through its
construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant, and has never shown the
slightest ambition of changing the government of Iran," said Farideh
Farhi, an Iran expert at the University of Hawaii.