AFP: Iran is close to having the potential to build a nuclear weapon, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday in the clearest indication of Moscow alarm over Tehran’s atomic drive.
MOSCOW (AFP) — Iran is close to having the potential to build a nuclear weapon, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday in the clearest indication of Moscow alarm over Tehran’s atomic drive.
“Iran is nearing the possession of the potential which in principle could be used for the creation of a nuclear weapon,” Medvedev said at a meeting with Russian diplomats quoted by Russian news agencies.
Russia, traditionally a diplomatic and economic ally of the Islamic Republic, has in the past taken a milder line against Tehran than Western powers but has noticeably hardened its position in recent months.
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 enrichment operations.
Iranian atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday said Tehran has produced around 20 kilogrammes of 20 percent enriched uranium.
Medvedev said that Iran “is far from behaving in the best way”.
Russian last month joined other world powers in approving a new set of sanctions against Tehran. Medvedev repeated his belief that sanctions often do not produce results but he said in this case they could stimulate talks.
“Now what we need is patience and as quickly as possible to renew dialogue with Tehran,” said Medvedev.
“This is what we see as the main aim of the UN Security Council resolution. And if diplomacy loses this chance then this will be a collective failure of all the international community,” he added.
Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to build a nuclear bomb under the cover of a civilian nuclear energy programme, charges that are fiercely disputed by Tehran.
The United States and its Middle East ally Israel have never ruled out the use of military force to end Tehran’s defiance but Russia has always insisted that the standoff should be solved diplomatically.