(photo credit: AP)
Russia has warned Iran that it will not supply the Islamic country with fuel for its new nuclear reactor unless it agrees to suspend nuclear enrichment as per the UN Security Council's orders, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, American and Iranian officials said Russian National Security Council head Igor Ivanov presented Ali Hosseini Tash, Iran's deputy chief nuclear negotiator, with the ultimatum last week.
Iran and Russia have recently clashed over the fuel supply for the Bushehr power plant at Natantz. Last week, Russia decided to delay the fuel shipment - thus delaying the opening of the nuclear site, as well - claiming that the Iranians were late with the payments.
Teheran flatly denied the Russian claims and accused Russia of bending to international pressure to penalize Iran for its nuclear ambitions.
"We're not sure what mix of commercial and political motives are at play here," the Times
quoted a senior Bush administration official as saying. "But clearly the Russians and the Iranians are getting on each other's nerves - and that's not all bad."
In December, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution ordering all countries to ban the supply of specific materials and technology that could contribute to Iran's nuclear and missile programs. The sanctions also impose an asset freeze on key companies and individuals in the programs named on a UN list.
Iran has blatantly defied the resolution, declaring repeatedly that it intends to continue pursuing nuclear enrichment and that it will not submit to Western threats.
AP contributed to this report.