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Accept Russia's proposal: Germany tells Iran

Iran has been lukewarm on the offer, drawing suspicions that it was merely using the proposal to stall for time.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 20:12 IST

Germany's foreign minister has urged Iran to accept Russia's proposal to host Tehran's uranium enrichment programme, saying thatthe compromise could help end the nuclear programme standoff.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made the appeal in Seoul after talks with his South Korean counterpart Ban Ki-moon a day before Iran enters into talks with Russia on the proposal.

"We hope Iran understands that Russia's proposal can solve and ultimately end this problem," Steinmeier told a joint news conference.

The plan to let Iran enrich uranium on Russian soil has been backed by the US and the European Union as a way to provide international oversight of Iran's nuclear activities.

However, Iran has been lukewarm on the offer, drawing suspicions that it was merely using the proposal to stall for time.

The Security Council is expected to consider taking steps against the country, including possible sanctions and other punitive measures, after the Vienna-based IAEA issues another report on Iran at a March 6 meeting of its 35-nation Board of Governors.

Ban Ki-moon also expressed "serious concern" over Iran's nuclear programme.

"We agreed that Iran should show a sincere attitude on this issue," he said.

Meanwhile, Steinmeier urged North Korea to end its boycott of six-nation talks on ending its nuclear programme.

First Published: Feb 19, 2006 20:12 IST