Russian officials said Thursday that Iran's top nuclear negotiator will be in Moscow for talks on Friday, but his visit appeared unlikely to bring major progress toward ending the international standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.
While Russia has more sway over Iran than European nations that have proposed sanctions to punish Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, its influence over Tehran - and willingness to use it - are limited, analysts said.
Moscow has rejected the European draft sanctions, saying they are too broad and too strong, but Russian nuclear officials have hinted they could postpone the scheduled launch next year of the nuclear power plant they are building in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr - the nation's first.
The remarks suggested Russia is applying its own pressure by threatening to delay the project. But analysts said Moscow would draw the line at scrapping the project, which is more than a decade old and worth some US$1 billion (â‚¬800 million).