Madrid: Iran`s Foreign Minister Manouchehr
Mottaki rejected on Tuesday as "totally false" Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev`s statement that Iran is close to having the
potential to build a nuclear weapon.
"The recent comments made by Medvedev regarding the
Iranian nuclear theme are totally false and we deny them," he
told a news conference in Madrid.
"We do not know what the ultimate goal behind these
comments is, what operations are behind it... But we maintain
our position clearly and we are doing nothing but claiming our
rights," he added.
"Russia is our neighbour and we want to maintain good
relations but we are critical of some of its positions."
In the clearest indication yet of Russian alarm over
Tehran`s atomic drive, Medvedev said yesterday that "Iran is
nearing the possession of the potential which in principle
could be used for the creation of a nuclear weapon".
Russia, traditionally a diplomatic and economic ally of
the Islamic republic, in the past took a milder line against
Tehran than Western powers but recently noticeably hardened
Iran has over the past months been announcing steady
advances in its nuclear programme, in defiance of
international calls for Tehran to freeze its sensitive uranium
Iran`s clerical regime says that its atomic drive is
solely for peaceful means, but Western powers -- and
increasingly Russia -- worry that it is bent on developing a
Russia`s tougher line on Iran has coincided with a
warming of its relations with the United States. Washington
has repeatedly praised Moscow for its support in the crisis.