Iran, Russia discuss nuclear proposals

Iranian negotiator: Teheran to unveil proposals that will assure Moscow nuclear program is peaceful.

Saeed Jalili (photo credit: )
Saeed Jalili
(photo credit: )
Iran discussed with Russia on Monday the general outlines of a package of proposals aimed at defusing concerns that Iran is using its nuclear program as a cover for weapons development, state media reported. Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said Teheran will soon unveil the proposals publicly and claimed they would help assure the international community that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. "The Islamic Republic of Iran has serious proposals that while reducing threats in the nuclear issue to the minimum, (also) prevent proliferation," Jalili was quoted as saying by Iran's official news agency IRNA. He did not provide details of the proposals. Iran has denied pursuing nuclear weapons, saying its program is geared toward generating electricity. Jalili said he discussed the "outlines" of the package Monday with acting Russian Security Council Secretary Valentin Sobolev during his visit to Iran, according to IRNA. Sobolev said he hoped the talks would help "advance Iranian-Russian relations," according to Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti. "Our talks are of a peaceful nature and are not directed against any third countries," Sobolev was quoted as saying. Russia has been a key ally to Iran in its nuclear standoff with the West but has also voted in favor of three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran for its failure to halt uranium enrichment. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said earlier this month that Iran has been preparing a proposal that will have more "convergence" with the West on the nuclear issue. Jalili indicated Monday that the new package of proposals could form a good basis for negotiations with the West, saying it "has good capabilities that can be the subject of talks with big powers." The US has refused to negotiate directly with Iran on the nuclear issue until it agrees to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or fissile material for a bomb. Iran has insisted that its right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is "nonnegotiable." "We have prepared a proposal that will be handed over soon and ... we think we can hold a dialogue with influential powers on the international stage that really have the will to establish peace and stability in the world and respect the sovereignty of nations," IRNA quoted Jalili as saying. Also Monday, the deputy chief of the UN nuclear monitoring agency arrived in Teheran to discuss Iran's controversial nuclear program. His second visit in two weeks comes only days after the International Atomic Energy Agency said it has reached a "milestone" agreement with Iran that aims to provide answers to allegations that Teheran has tried to develop nuclear weapons. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Sunday that Iran was willing to discuss any issue with the UN nuclear watchdog but maintained the country has already answered all outstanding questions about its nuclear program.