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Be more cooperative with IAEA: Russia to Iran

Last Updated: Friday, February 19, 2010 - 16:14

Moscow: Russia`s Foreign Ministry said on Friday Iran must cooperate more actively with the UN nuclear agency to convince the world that its nuclear program is peaceful, Interfax news agency reported.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suggested on Thursday for the first time that Iran was actively chasing a nuclear weapons capability now, rather than merely having done so in the past.

"Tehran must be more active in its cooperation with the IAEA and widen it," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko was quoted as saying at a briefing in Moscow on Friday.

The comments reinforce indications that Moscow`s patience with Tehran is wearing thin and the Kremlin is aligning itself more closely with Western demands for UN sanctions.

The United States is leading a push for the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions.

Nesterenko said Tehran should also provide information to dispel suspicions about the character of its nuclear program, Russian news agencies reported.

"The international community needs to know for certain that it is peaceful," he said.

The UN nuclear watchdog said on Thursday it feared Iran may be working now to develop a nuclear-armed missile, and Washington warned Tehran of the "consequences" of ignoring international demands.

The IAEA on Thursday seemed to be cautiously going public with concerns arising from a classified analysis which concludes that Iran has already honed explosives expertise relevant to a workable nuclear weapon.

The report also confirmed Iran had produced its first small batch of uranium enriched to a higher purity and had set aside most of its low-enriched uranium stockpile for this purpose, although this seemed far in excess of civilian needs.

The developments will intensify pressure on Iran to prove it is not covertly bent on "weaponising" enrichment by allowing unfettered access for IAEA inspectors and investigators, something it rejects in protest at UN sanctions.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, February 19, 2010 - 16:14
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