Iran asks Russia for new round of talks

Lavrov confirms overtures; negotiations to resume 'in the nearest future.'

Iran Nuclear 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Iran Nuclear 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Moscow will hold another round of nuclear consultations with Iran shortly. "Iran in the last day or two appealed to us again to hold consultations," Lavrov said at a briefing. "They will take place in the nearest future."
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Talks on Russia's offer to host the Iranian uranium enrichment program produced no results after Tehran rejected Moscow's demand to suspend its uranium enrichment activities. "We are very disappointed with the way Iran has been conducting itself in these negotiations, absolutely not helping those who want to provide for finding peaceful ways to resolve the whole situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program," Lavrov said. Earlier Monday, Russia's atomic energy chief, Sergei Kiriyenko, said Russia's proposal to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian territory remains open. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi had said Sunday that Tehran would no longer consider the Russian proposal. "Russia believes that Iran, like any other state, has the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but the global community has the right to demand guarantees of nonproliferation. Russia has made its offer to combine these two positions," Kiriyenko said. "The Russian proposal has and will remain, and it's not going to change. Attempts to extract just certain fragments of it won't work." Russia has made its enrichment offer contingent on Tehran suspending its own enrichment effort, but Iranian officials have rejected the link. Iran insists its program is designed only to generate electricity, but the US claims Tehran has been working to build a bomb for more than a decade. Britain and France are also skeptical of the Iranians, and the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, says it has serious questions about Iran's program.