Bloomberg: Russia and France will cooperate through the United Nations to press Iran to honor international obligations over its nuclear program, President Vladimir Putin said. By Sebastian Alison and Francois de Beaupuy
Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) — Russia and France will cooperate through the United Nations to press Iran to honor international obligations over its nuclear program, President Vladimir Putin said.
“We agreed that Iran is taking steps” to cooperate with international demands, Putin told a joint news conference in Moscow today with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He said work to bring Iran to cooperate was going on at the United Nations, and “we agreed that this will go on in the future.”
Putin said “we have no data” to prove that Iran is seeking to make a nuclear weapon, a remark that contrasts with comments made by the French president in Moscow last night. After meeting with Putin for three hours yesterday, Sarkozy said that French and Russian views on Iran had “come a lot closer,” and that there was a “convergence of views on the status of Iranian research.”
Sarkozy has joined President George W. Bush in accusing Iran of trying to build a nuclear weapon, while the Islamic Republic said it wants to develop nuclear power. Iran has refused to comply with United Nations Security Council demands to suspend the enrichment of uranium, a material that can fuel a reactor or form the core of a bomb. The refusal has led to two sets of UN sanctions on Iran since December.
Late last month, U.S. and European allies gave Iran a two- month respite from further sanctions, yielding to Russia and China, two veto-wielding members of the Security Council and major economic partners of Iran. Also last month, the French government asked European companies to halt investments in Iran.
For Putin “to say that he’s cooperating and that he’s willing to continue to cooperate is very important,” Sarkozy said at the joint press conference with the Russian president today. “That’s the key point.”
Putin is due in Tehran on Oct. 16 for a meeting of leaders of the countries bordering the Caspian Sea. Russia has been building a nuclear reactor at Bushehr in Iran for more than a decade. Construction has slowed in a dispute over payment.
Iranian negotiators said they will answer questions about their country’s uranium enrichment work raised by UN nuclear inspectors. The two sides will meet today in Tehran to continue negotiations that began yesterday between delegations headed by International Atomic Energy Agency Deputy Director-General Olli Heinonen and Iran’s deputy nuclear negotiator, Javad Vaeedi.