Russia 'interested' in Iranian nuclear offer
Russia on Tuesday said it was interested in Iran's invitation to inspect its nuclear facilities, saying the offer represented a step towards dialogue on the nuclear dispute.
In Russia's first official comments on the invitation, which was forwarded January 4 to Russia, China, Egypt, Cuba and rotating EU president Hungary, a senior foreign ministry official called the offer a positive step.
"We received this initiative with interest," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Interfax.
"We believe that the Iranian side has thus demonstrated its readiness to move toward a certain dialogue on this important subject," he added.
The Iranian move was immediately dismissed as "antics' by the United States, which along with Britain, France and Germany, was not invited.
The European Union responded by noting that it was up to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out such visits.
Iran and Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany are to meet for another round of talks on Tehran's atomic programme in Istanbul on on January 21-22.
The previous round of talks, after a 14-month hiatus, was held in Geneva on December 6-7.
© 2011 AFP