Russian diplomat: Iran talks to cover all ties

A top diplomat said Tuesday that Russia's Feb. 16 talks with Iran would cover not only Moscow's offer to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian territory, but also a whole range of issues concerning the two countries' ties, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. Moscow "is counting on conducting consultations with Iran on Feb. 16 on the proposed joint venture to enrich uranium," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak was quoted as saying. "Not only the nuclear dossier, but also the whole complex of relations with Iran will be discussed at these consultations in Moscow." Russia has been urging Tehran not to backpedal on its agreement to come to the Moscow meeting in spite of its threats to restart its own enrichment activities. Iran says it wants to make fuel through enrichment, but the activity can also generate the nuclear core of warheads. Russia's proposal for joint enrichment "is intended to remove all the worries around its nuclear program," Kislyak was quoted as saying. Also Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said that Russia would not oppose participation by other nations in the enrichment venture, ITAR-Tass reported. "The creation of a joint venture is open to many countries," he was quoted as saying. Iran is said to want China to be involved as a hedge against the use of the venture by Russia to put pressure on Tehran. After talks in Moscow late last month, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Tehran was open to participation by other nations but that the prospect of Chinese involvement was not specifically discussed.