Reports: Moscow wants clarification from Iran on nuclear programs

FM Lavrov: "The situation is rather difficult in a technical sense. Expert analysis is necessary."

Russia's foreign minister said Moscow wants further clarification from Iran regarding its nuclear programs, Russian news agencies reported Thursday. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Iran left questions unanswered in its response to an package offered as incentive for it to suspend uranium enrichment by the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, according to Interfax and RIA-Novosti "Iran offered a detailed response to the proposals of the sextet. We would like to receive clarification on several questions," he was quoted as saying. "The situation is rather difficult in a technical sense. Expert analysis is necessary," said Lavrov, who spoke as he arrived in Beirut, as part of a Middle Eastern tour. "Iran's answer has nothing in it that demands absolute secrecy," ITAR-Tass quoted him as saying. "But I'm not a supporter of discussing this delicate situations in public." He also repeated Russia's position that Iran has a right to peaceful use of atomic energy. Iran on Wednesday postponed a tentative meeting with a top European Union official to discuss the nuclear controversy - a step that seemed to dim prospects the country will make concessions. The United States has said it will push for United Nations sanctions because of Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment as the UN had demanded. Russia and China, which are both veto-wielding members of the Security Council and have key trade ties with Tehran, have urged patience with Iran. A day earlier, Lavrov emphasized that any sanctions imposed by the international community on Iran for its nuclear programs must not include the use of military force. Russian news agencies cited Lavrov as saying that Russia's decision on whether to support punishing Iran would be "guided by just one goal _ to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," according to ITAR-Tass. He said the recent UN Security Council resolution on Iran holds out the possibility of further measures, including those spelled out in Article 41 of the UN Charter. The article allows punishments that do not involve the use of armed force, such as economic penalties, air travel bans or breaking diplomatic relations.