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Russia hopes that Teheran will seek to achieve a political and diplomatic solution of the nuclear problem
Russia hopes that Teheran will seek to achieve a political and diplomatic solution of the nuclear problem, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “A solution of the Iranian problem from the position of strength does not exist. All European Union countries agree with this,” Lavrov said. “If there are any such plans after all, they will fail to produce a solution, but will merely create a highly explosive situation in the Middle East.” The chief Russian diplomat said all participants in the process of negotiations over Iran “have noted more than once the need for a political and diplomatic solution of that problem, an idea U.S. President George Bush stressed recently, too.” “Iran has never declared the intention to have nuclear arms,” Lavrov said, adding the Iranian leadership invariably stated Teheran wanted to have a purely civilian nuclear power industry. International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei’ s visit to Teheran is expected to prevent Iran’s abuse of the nuclear-arms non-proliferation regime, the minister said in the wake of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s declaration his country has created the full nuclear cycle. “I would not be in a hurry to jump at any conclusions,” Lavrov said. “Emotions have been fanned over the nuclear issue too often.” “Our main task is to prevent any violation of non-proliferation. The IAEA is the main authority in this field,” Lavrov said. He pointed out that the agency “has not identified any risks Teheran might violate this regime, but it keeps clearing up certain aspects.” “This is precisely the aim of the IAEA chief’s visit to Teheran,” Lavrov said. An Iranian diplomat said Tehran’s success in uranium enrichment by no means implies that from now on it turns down Russia’s offer to set up in Russia a joint venture for uranium enrichment. “Our country has not reversed its stance. Russia’s offer stays in place, and we are ready to consider it,” the diplomat stressed. “This will be done at bilateral talks which, by the way, have never been broken down,” he added. However, according to the Iranian diplomat, Russia’s offer “is very complicated from the economic point of view, and cannot be considered and approved within several months”. He said the sides would have to solve such complicated issues “as the form of ownership, the financing and the distribution of profits. This cannot be settled at a stroke,” the diplomat stressed. Iran’s achievement of uranium enrichment at 3.5 percent does not alarm Russian nuclear specialists, said Viktor Mikhailov, ex-minister of atomic energy. Mikhailov, who leads the ministry’s Institute for Strategic Stability, said, “Any enrichment of uranium at up to 20 percent is not forbidden by IAEA rules and is used for obtaining fuel for nuclear power stations, not for military purposes.” He expressed satisfaction with the fact that “one more country has mastered the first stage of peaceful nuclear technology”. “This is an experimental enrichment of several grams of uranium, and it would be early to speak about the creation of a full nuclear cycle in that country,” Mikhailov stressed. In order to have such cycle for the production of own fuel at least for the initial loading of a nuclear reactor “one needs to have not some hundred-and-a-half centrifuges, but thousands of times more,” he noted. For that, “respective technologies and a very costly set of equipment are needed,” Mikhailov emphasized. He believes “Iranian nuclear specialists can not produce fuel for a nuclear power station at the present moment, nor can they make a nuclear weapon”. He believes that by announcing their success in uranium enrichment at 3.5 percent, the Iranian authorities have stated that “they want to speak on equal terms with nuclear states and want to ensure for their nuclear specialists an access to technologies of industrial uranium enrichment and a full nuclear cycle for the production of fuel for their nuclear power station”. The ex-minister believes “the Iranian authorities will soon accept Russia’s proposal to set up a joint venture for uranium enrichment on Russian territory”. It is possible that “China, India and some European states will become participants in that joint venture,” Mikhailov emphasised.
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