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Russia, Iran want N-issue to be solved within IAEA

Russia opposes international sanctions against Iran.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 19:39 IST

Russia's national security chief and Iran's top nuclear negotiator have said that Tehran's nuclear standoff must be resolved by diplomatic efforts in the UN atomic watchdog agency.

The Kremlin statement on Tuesday reflected Russia's efforts to delay Iran's referral to the UN Security Council and Moscow's opposition to international sanctions against Tehran.

"Both sides expressed their desire to solve the issue in a diplomatic way within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency," Russia's Security Council said in a statement after the meeting between council chief Igor Ivanov and Ali Larijani of Iran.

The meeting came after Iran warned that IAEA referral to the UN Security Council over its nuclear ambitions would lead it to move forward with a full-scale uranium enrichment programme, a possible precursor to making atomic weapons.

High-level diplomacy has intensified with little more than a week until the February 2 meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board.

Larijani said Iran was ready for compromise, but dismissed Western concerns about the country's nuclear activities.

"We have not closed the path to compromise," he said in a televised interview in Tehran with the British Broadcasting Corp before his departure. "Talks in which they want to impose certain pressures will not be constructive."

"I am surprised they are so sensitive about nuclear research in Iran," he said, according to an English translation of his comments.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 13:20 IST