Global General

Russia says chances remain for Iran nuclear talks

Updated: 2010-01-15 22:41
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MOSCOW: Russia has urged relevant parties to exert more efforts in a search for mutually acceptable solutions to the Iranian nuclear issue, while eying on possible negotiation, said a spokesman for Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday.

"We believe that there is still some room for maneuvering on the negotiating track," Andrei Nesterenko told a press briefing.

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"Iran stated more than once that the country would launch the additional enrichment of its low-enriched uranium to 20 percent independently," said Nesterenko, "We believe that at the current stage it is important to focus efforts on the search for mutually acceptable solutions."

Under a draft deal brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency, most of Iran's existing low-grade enriched uranium should be shipped to Russia and France, where it would be processed into fuel rods with the purity of 20 percent. The higher-level enriched uranium will then be transported back to Iran.

However, Tehran rejected a December 31 deadline imposed by the US administration to accept the deal and posed its own ultimatum earlier this month.

The West shall either sell nuclear fuel to Iran, or swap nuclear fuel for Iran's enriched uranium in smaller batches instead of at once as the UN plan requires, said Tehran.

The United States and its Western allies have been accusing Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under the disguise of civilian nuclear power. Iran has denied the accusation and stressed its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Negotiators from Iran, five permanent members of UN Security Council and Germany are scheduled to hold another round of talks soon on the Iranian nuclear issue.