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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 17:23 GMT
Iran nuclear stance irks Russia
Iranian technicians
Iran remains defiant amid intense Western pressure
Russia has voiced frustration with Iran's approach to the negotiations on its controversial nuclear programme, which Tehran is under pressure to halt.

"We are very disappointed with the way Iran has been conducting itself in these negotiations," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

He said Iran was "absolutely not helping" those who were trying to resolve the dispute peacefully.

The US has accused Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons, which it denies.

Moscow and Tehran will resume talks "in the nearest future" on Iran's nuclear programme, Mr Lavrov said.

Iran insists that its nuclear programme is purely civilian, not military, and that it has the right to conduct nuclear fuel research.

Russian plan

Russia has sought to persuade Iran to move its uranium enrichment programme to Russian territory, which would allow closer international monitoring.

Contradictory signals are coming from Tehran - one day they reject it (Russia's plan), the other day they don't
Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister

The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the Iran issue this week after Tehran failed to persuade the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that its nuclear programme was purely peaceful.

The IAEA last week referred Iran to the council, which could impose sanctions.

Iran has vowed to resist international pressure, insisting it has the right to civilian nuclear technology.

Earlier on Monday, Iran's Supreme National Security Council Hossein Entezami said Tehran was still considering the Russian offer.

On Sunday, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi had said the proposal was "off the agenda".

If Iran is developing a nuclear weapons capability it would very seriously destabilise the Middle East
Jack Straw

'Not too late'

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC on Monday that Iran was "very, very sensitive" to the prospect of referral to the UN Security Council.

Tehran had repeatedly miscalculated by thinking it could split the UN, Mr Straw told Radio 4's Today programme.

"It is still not too late for the Iranians to get back into negotiations," he said.

Mr Straw reiterated that military action against Iran was not being seriously considered.


SEE ALSO:
Russia deal 'off Iran's agenda'
12 Mar 06 |  Middle East
Iran 'grave concern', says Bush
10 Mar 06 |  Middle East
Iran confrontation moves to next stage
09 Mar 06 |  Middle East
Iran reported to Security Council
04 Feb 06 |  Middle East
Key nations' stances on Iran
31 Jan 06 |  Middle East
Q&A: Iran nuclear stand-off
04 Feb 06 |  Middle East


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