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Russia calls on Iran to freeze uranium enrichment

 Russia has called on Iran to freeze uranium enrichment until key issues in its nuclear program have been cleared up with the IAEA, a Russian deputy foreign minister has said.

In an interview posted on the Foreign Ministry's official website on Tuesday, Sergei Kislyak said Iran should freeze enrichment activity until all of its nuclear program's "complicated points have been worked out."

"I believe that all this is entirely achievable if the appropriate political decisions are taken. International concerns can be easily allayed to create more favorable conditions for Iran's extensive cooperation with other countries," Kislyak said.

Western countries, particularly the U.S., suspect Tehran is pursuing a covert weapons program. However, Tehran has consistently claimed it needs nuclear power for civilian power generation and is fully entitled to its own nuclear program.

The Russian official hailed Iran's cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog in clarifying all the outstanding issues over its nuclear program. "This is very important in the context of restoring confidence related to Iran's [nuclear] program."

"Frankly speaking, our Iranian colleagues could have started this work long ago and not wasted so many years on confrontation, first with the IAEA Board of Governors, and then with the UN Security Council."

He said the necessity for cooperation with the UN Security Council and compliance with recommendations from the IAEA Board of Governors would be reflected in a new UN Security Council resolution on Iran.

The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany agreed at talks in Berlin on January 22 on a draft for a third sanctions resolution against Iran calling for travel ban, asset freeze and vigilance on all banks in the Islamic Republic.

"When the document is made public, you will see it contains serious signals for Iran and envisions decisions to expand sanctions earlier adopted by the Security Council," Kislyak said.

However, he said the new resolution, as well as the previous ones, was being drafted in compliance with UN Charter article 41 of chapter 7, which excludes the use of force.

RIA Novosti


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