Iran welcomes Russia nuclear proposals: top negotiator

16th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Tuesday that Tehran welcomes Russia's latest proposals for restarting dialogue on its controversial atomic programme, after talks with a top official from Moscow.

"Our Russian friends' proposals can be the basis for commencing talks on regional and international cooperation, particularly in the field of peaceful nuclear activities," Saeed Jalili said, quoted on state television's website.

"Talks for cooperation and dialogue-cooperation strategy can be a good strategy," Jalili said after two rounds of talks with Moscow's National Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

"We and six countries -- P5+1 -- as seven nations can work out cooperation through this strategy."

Patrushev, who arrived in Iran on Monday and was to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later Tuesday, was also upbeat on the outcome of his talks with Jalili.

"I am here on an invitation from Mr Jalili and we had very good negotiations," Patrushev was quoted on the website as saying.

"We also talked about multilateral cooperation, particularly about Iran's nuclear issue and the necessity of interaction with 5+1 group and the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said.

Moscow is seeking to revive nuclear negotiations between Iran and major world powers known as the P5+1, the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany.

In mid-July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed a new "step-by-step" approach to restart the talks on the nuclear issue.

Under the proposal, Iran could address questions about its activities and the major powers would then start reducing international economic sanctions against Tehran.

As a follow-up to Patrushev's visit, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was due to travel to Moscow later on Tuesday to continue the talks.

Tehran is at loggerheads with the West over its nuclear programme, and the last round of talks between the Islamic republic and the world powers in January broke down in Istanbul.

Iran has been hit by four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions over its programme of uranium enrichment, which Western powers suspect has a military dimension despite Tehran's repeated denials.

The United States and European Union have also imposed their own unilateral sanctions on Iranian banks and the oil sector, posing risks for foreign companies which deal with them.

Iran remains adamant, however, that it will push ahead with its controversial enrichment activities, which can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the fissile material for an atomic warhead.

In early July, Iran announced it will triple its production of enriched uranium, a move denounced as "provocation" by the US and France.

Tehran insists it will use the enriched uranium to fuel its future nuclear power plants, and that its atomic programme is entirely peaceful.

On Saturday, Ahmadinejad repeated Tehran's sustained stance that it was not seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

"Nuclear weapons are the means of the previous century ... If any country tries to build a nuclear bomb, they waste their money and their resources," Ahmadinejad told Russia Today television.

© 2011 AFP

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