US shares Medvedev worries on Iran

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The United States on Monday saluted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's criticism of Iran and said it shared concerns that the Islamic republic could reach a "tipping point" in its nuclear drive.

Medvedev said that Iran was close to having the potential to build a nuclear weapon, the clearest sign yet of alarm about Tehran's atomic drive from Russia -- which in the past has taken a milder line than Western powers.

"This is just indicative of the cooperation and shared perspective that the United States and Russia have reached on this issue," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

Crowley said that Iran's continued pursuit of sensitive uranium enrichment work was narrowing the "leap from a civilian program to a military program."

"We have definite concerns that if this trajectory continues, that Iran will at some point approach that moment -- that tipping point, if you will -- where it has a de facto military capability," he said.

"We are doing everything in our power to delay and deter that moment from occurring," he said. "All countries have a special obligation to do everything that they can to convince Iran to move in a different direction."

Iran's clerical regime says that its atomic drive is solely for peaceful means, but Western powers -- and increasingly Russia -- worry that it is bent on developing a nuclear weapon.

President Barack Obama's administration has worked to repair relations with Russia after years of growing friction. Obama welcomed Medvedev for a friendly visit last month that included a choreographed trip to a burger joint.

© 2010 AFP

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