Iran Nuclear NewsRussia urges Iran to join nuclear talks

Russia urges Iran to join nuclear talks

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AP: Russia’s U.N. ambassador urged Iran on Monday to drop its opposition to talks with six key nations trying to ensure that its nuclear program is peaceful, saying the only way to resolve the dispute is through negotiations. The Associated Press

By EDITH M. LEDERER

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia’s U.N. ambassador urged Iran on Monday to drop its opposition to talks with six key nations trying to ensure that its nuclear program is peaceful, saying the only way to resolve the dispute is through negotiations.

The six countries — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — have offered Iran a package of political, security and economic incentives if it suspends uranium enrichment, a process that can produce nuclear fuel for a reactor or fissile material for an atomic weapon.

But Iran has refused, sharply criticizing a third round of sanctions imposed March 3 for defying the Security Council’s demand to suspend enrichment. Tehran insists its program is intended solely to use atomic power to generate electricity.

Iran says it will deal only with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini called the Security Council’s demand “worthless and unacceptable” and said it was “based on political motivations.”

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose country has opposed harsh punishment of Iran in the dispute, said at a news conference that talks are the only way to resolve the standoff.

“We expect negotiations between the six and Iran, and their statements of a negative nature toward the negotiations are certainly not helpful and not constructive,” Churkin said.

“We hope that will change, because the only way to resolve this matter politically and diplomatically is through negotiations.”

Churkin noted that foreign ministers of the six key negotiating countries, in a statement issued to coincide with approval of the March 3 resolution, offered to enhance the incentives package if Iran suspends enrichment.

The six should be “more vigorous” in developing the package and possible arrangements for negotiations, he said. “But, of course, nothing will happen without a more constructive attitude of the Iranians to those negotiations.”

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