Russia, China look for nuke compromise in Iran
Russian and Chinese officials have headed for Iran, hoping to persuade it to accept a compromise proposal over its nuclear programme.india Updated: Feb 24, 2006 16:29 IST
Russian and Chinese officials headed to Iran on Friday, hoping to persuade it to accept a compromise proposal over its nuclear programme that could avert the threat of U.N. sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Time is running out for Iran to avoid a formal referral to the U.N. Security Council at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on March 6.
Iran had offered the U.N. inspectors, information about a shadowy uranium-processing project that the Western intelligence has linked to missile warhead design and tests with high explosives, a senior diplomat said on Thursday.
The diplomat, close to the IAEA but asking not to be named, said IAEA inspectors would be in Tehran this weekend to check the information on the "Green Salt Project".
Russian officials downplayed expectations of a breakthrough at the Tehran talks, and a new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a non-governmental organisation that promotes conflict resolution said that Iran was in no mood to compromise.
High oil prices and U.S. difficulties in Iraq meant that for Iran "this is probably not the time to concede but rather to press ahead, strengthening its position for the day genuine negotiations or confrontation with the U.S. might begin", said the ICG.
Russia and China, both of whom have burgeoning energy and trade ties with Tehran and veto rights on the Security Council, do not favour the use of sanctions against Iran, which denies any intention of making nuclear arms.