Iran Nuclear NewsIran discusses "serious" nuclear ideas with Russia

Iran discusses “serious” nuclear ideas with Russia


ImageReuters: Iran on Monday discussed with Russia proposals it has drawn up to defuse a nuclear row with the West, which accuses the Islamic Republic of seeking to build an atomic bomb.

By Parisa Hafezi

ImageTEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran on Monday discussed with Russia proposals it has drawn up to defuse a nuclear row with the West, which accuses the Islamic Republic of seeking to build an atomic bomb.

Iran said earlier this month it would unveil ideas that would help end the dispute over its nuclear ambitions, which have prompted three rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006 for its refusal to heed U.N. demands to halt sensitive atomic work.

"Iran … has serious proposals regarding the nuclear issue, about what to do to minimize the nuclear threat around the world," Jalili said without giving details of the package.

The proposals were discussed with Valentin Sobolev, acting secretary of Russia's National Security Council, an Iranian official said. Further talks would be held on Tuesday, he added.

Jalili said the proposals covered "various important international issues" that would make a "basis for talks among influential and major powers and Iran as a major power in the region can play an important role."

He did not give specifics but said the proposals included security and political affairs.

Sobolev, speaking through an interpreter at a joint news conference with Jalili, said he had discussed the nuclear issue, as well as technical and military cooperation.

"Iran's activities are peaceful and not a threat against any country," the Russian said.

Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, insists its atomic work is to master skills to generate electricity.

But the United States and Britain this month vowed a united effort to stop what they say is Iran's bid to build a nuclear weapon, possibly by expanding sanctions.

Russia, along with China, has been reluctant to back more sanctions in the past although it supported all three U.N. resolutions when it came to a vote at the U.N. Security Council.

World powers are considering enhancing a package of trade and other incentives for Iran, previously proposed in 2006, if it stops enriching uranium, which can be used as nuclear fuel or, if so desired, provide material for bombs.


European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana led an initiative by the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China to explore ways to open formal negotiations but months of meetings proved fruitless.

A spokeswoman for Solana said on Monday she was unaware of the details of any Iranian package and that Solana had had no recent contacts with Jalili.

The talks with Russia came the same day Olli Heinonen, the International Atomic Energy Agency's top investigator, arrived in Tehran to discuss international accusations that Iran researched how to make nuclear bombs.

Heinonen had visited Iran last week. After that trip, the IAEA said Tehran had agreed on steps to clarify the intelligence information by the end of May. Iran had earlier dismissed the intelligence as baseless and declined to address it in detail.

"We will cooperate with the agency as the only relevant technical organization, and in case of any question or ambiguity we will provide the answers away from any political ballyhoo," Iran's IAEA ambassador, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said.

Soltanieh had said talks could last three days but Iran's ISNA news agency reported that Heinonen's meetings ended on Monday and said he would leave overnight.

In a presentation in February, Heinonen indicated links in Iran between projects to process uranium, test explosives and modify a missile cone in a way suitable for a nuclear warhead.

The intelligence came variously from a laptop computer given to Washington by an Iranian defector in 2004, from some other Western countries and the agency's own inquiries.

(Additional reporting by Hossein Jaseb and Hashem Kalantari, writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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