Iran backs Russian stance on nuclear dispute: Kremlin

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday that he backs Moscow's efforts to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear drive diplomatically, the Kremlin said.

"Dmitry Medvedev noted with satisfaction the Iranian president's positive assessment of the Russian initiative -- a plan of gradually restoring faith in the Iranian nuclear programme. The two sides agreed to continue consulations on this question," it said in a statement.

The two leaders spoke after European diplomats said Wednesday that the European Union had reached preliminary agreement on an EU-wide ban on oil from the Islamic republic in a move backed by the United States.

Russia has relatively close ties with Iran and has built its first nuclear power station in the southern city of Bushehr. Moscow has also delivered the nuclear fuel for the reactor.

Moscow has echoed Western concerns about the nature of the Iranian nuclear programme but has stopped short of publicly accusing Tehran of seeking atomic weapons and has always said that the standoff should be solved by diplomacy.

© 2012 AFP

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