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Russia insists IAEA take lead role in Iran N-issue

The Russian FM insisted in a statement that the UN agency should take the lead role in the Iranian nuclear dispute.
None | By Associated Press, Moscow
UPDATED ON MAR 26, 2006 04:03 PM IST

Russia's Foreign Minister insisted in a statement today that the UN nuclear agency should take the lead role in the Iranian nuclear dispute, refusing to budge in a diplomatic impasse that has stalled efforts to hold Tehran accountable for its atomic activities.

In a telephone conversation on Friday with his Iranian counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow's view was that the nuclear dispute should be resolved "through political diplomatic means within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency," his office said in a statement.

The statement indicates that Russia has not altered its position that the Vienna-based IAEA should take the primary role in clearing up suspicions that Iran may be seeking a nuclear weapon, as the United States believes. Iran insists its nuclear activities are peaceful and limited to generating power.

Russia and China are refusing to support a UN Security Council statement proposed by Britain, France and the United States demanding Tehran suspend uranium enrichment -- a process that can be used to generate nuclear power or make nuclear weapons.

The Russians and Chinese have opposed tough language including a demand for a report in 14 days on Iran's compliance with the IAEA demands.

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