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  Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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The Russian and French foreign ministers will hold talks in Moscow Thursday focusing on the escalating dispute around Iran's nuclear programs
The Russian and French foreign ministers will hold talks in Moscow Thursday focusing on the escalating dispute around Iran's nuclear programs. After arriving in the capital Wednesday evening, Philippe Douste-Blazy clearly stated his position on Iran's decision to resume research into uranium enrichment. "No civilian program can justify these activities," he said. The minister urged the international community to unite efforts to resolve the issue and said he hoped that Russia would support the position of a trio of nations representing the European Union at an emergency meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog France and the United Kingdom, which form the European troika with Germany, have rejected Iranian proposals to re-start negotiations on its "nuclear file", stating that Iran must first reinstate a moratorium on its nuclear activities. Tehran announced last week that it had abandoned a two-year suspension of research into uranium enrichment, which some nations fear will be used to develop nuclear weapons. The country insists it would only use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. With some countries pushing for the matter to be referred to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions if Iran is found to be in breach of its international commitments, Sergei Lavrov suggested Tuesday this might not be the best approach to the problem. "Sanctions are not the best or the only way of resolving international problems," Lavrov said, adding that the international community remembered only too well where sanctions against Iraq had led. An Iranian delegation is expected in Moscow on February 16 for nuclear talks. Russia has said that a proposal to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian territory remains on the table and many people have taken the view that the offer is a potential compromise that could diffuse the current stand-off. Meanwhile, the Iranian ambassador to Russia said Wednesday that Tehran needed time to consider Russia's offer, and Moscow needed more time to finalize its proposal.
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