Russia urges Iran to explain 'grey areas' at nuclear talks
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday called for Iran to agree talks to clear up "grey areas" in its contested nuclear programme at a meeting with six world powers in Istanbul this month.
In Istanbul, delegates must agree a talks agenda that is "all-inclusive" and covers "the questions of eliminating grey areas in the Iranian nuclear programme," Lavrov said.
Iran will meet Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany for the talks on January 21-22. The world powers have insisted that the talks with the Islamic republic should focus on its nuclear programme.
Russia along with Western countries and Israel suspects Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, a claim Tehran denies. Iran has refused to discuss its nuclear case in Istanbul.
Lavrov criticised Iran for failing to "cooperate as it should with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," but also slammed as counterproductive calls to use the threat of force against Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week said that international sanctions against Iran would only be effective if they were backed by a "credible" military threat.
"Our Israeli partners ... say publicly that we need not only to increase sanctions pressure on Iran but also really threaten it with use of force against it. I think that this is counterproductive. No problem can be solved by force," Lavrov said.
He said Iran's invitation to nuclear experts from some IAEA countries to tour its nuclear installations this month "deserved attention," but stressed that this could not replace IAEA inspections.
© 2011 AFP