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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Putin plays down Iran bomb fears
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands in  Novo Ogaryovo
Mr Putin (right) was speaking after talks with Mr Sarkozy
Moscow has no information that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

But he said the Kremlin shared the West's concern that Tehran's nuclear programme should be "transparent".

Mr Putin was speaking after talks in Moscow with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said the two countries had made progress on the Iran issue.

Iran denies accusations that it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, saying its programme is for civilian use.

"We do not have data that says Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons," Mr Putin said at a joint news conference with Mr Sarkozy.

"Therefore we proceed from a position that Iran has no such plans but we share the concern of our partners that all programmes should be as transparent as possible," the Russian leader added.

Kosovo issue

Mr Sarkozy, for his part, said Paris and Moscow had made progress towards resolving differences over Iran.

He said their positions were moving "towards the same path", but gave no details.

Mr Sarkozy has been pushing for tougher sanctions against Tehran but Russia has opposed the move. Mr Putin is due to visit Iran next week.

Mr Sarkozy said earlier that the two leaders had also bridged differences over Kosovo's future status.

Russia is fiercely opposed to independence for Serbia's breakaway province, while France - along with other Western nations - supports it.

There was also a reminder of European concerns about Russia's human rights record, the BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow says.

Mr Sarkozy confirmed that he would meet members of a group critical of the situation in Chechnya, our correspondent says.

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