Moscow: Russia on Tuesday said it was
interested in Iran`s invitation to inspect its nuclear
facilities, saying the offer represented a step towards
dialogue on the nuclear dispute.
In Russia`s first official comments on the invitation,
which was forwarded January 4 to Russia, China, Egypt, Cuba
and rotating EU president Hungary, a senior foreign ministry
official called the offer a positive step.
"We received this initiative with interest," Deputy
Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by
"We believe that the Iranian side has thus
demonstrated its readiness to move toward a certain dialogue
on this important subject," he added.
The Iranian move was immediately dismissed as "antics`
by the United States, which along with Britain, France and
Germany, was not invited.
The European Union responded by noting that it was up
to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out
Iran and Britain, China, France, Russia, the United
States and Germany are to meet for another round of talks on
Tehran`s atomic programme in Istanbul on on January 21-22.
The previous round of talks, after a 14-month hiatus,
was held in Geneva on December 6-7.