Russia tells Iran to improve nuclear behaviour: Lavrov

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday urged Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take a more constructive approach in the standoff with world powers over Tehran's nuclear drive.

Medvedev requested a meeting with Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of a regional summit in the Kazakh capital to refocus global attention on the Iranian nuclear problem, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

"This problem seems to have moved to the back burner while other members of the negotiating process remain busy with the Middle East and North Africa," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying.

"Although we are also very concerned about what is happening in this region, we feel it is wrong to forget about the deadlock that remains around the Iranian nuclear programme," Russia's top diplomat said.

"At the meeting, the Iranian president was told of the need for more constructive cooperation with the 'six' -- and, most importantly, of improving transparency his contacts with the IAEA."

Lavrov was referring to the UN nuclear watchdog and the stalled six-party negotiations, which also include Germany and the five permanent UN Security Council members.

Ahmadinejad had earlier Wednedsay met China's Hu Jintao, who also urged Iran to "take substantial steps in respect of establishing trust" and "speed up the process of dialogue," the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.

Iran is a traditional Russian ally, although Medvedev adopted a tougher view of the nuclear programme last year and held a tense meeting with his counterpart on the sidelines of another regional summit in Baku in November.

Lavrov said Ahmadinejad told Medvedev that his country had no plans to develop nuclear weapons -- a traditional stance that has been rejected by the United States and Iran's regional nemesis Israel.

© 2011 AFP

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