Russia Supports Iran's Right To Peaceful Nuke Program
(RTTNews) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday his country supported Iran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and was in constant contact with Tehran on nuclear issues.
"We have always supported the Iranian people's right to modern technology, including the peaceful use of atomic energy," Russian state media quoted Putin as telling his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Beijing.
The two leaders were in the Chinese capital to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.
Russia is aware of Tehran's position, "which is that Iran is not working on the development of nuclear weapons," Putin said adding "that is our assumption."
Western countries and Israel are pressing Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program which, they suspect, is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. But Iran says its nuclear activity is meant for generating energy.
Tehran also said failure to draft an agenda for the upcoming nuclear talks with world powers in Moscow was not conducive to their success.
Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili on Wednesday wrote to European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton saying that the EU's failure to arrange a meeting of experts to draft an agenda for the talks created an atmosphere of doubt and ambiguity for the Moscow talks, Iran's IRNA news agency reported.
Russia is hosting the third round of talks on Iran's disputed nuclear program on June 18-19. Previous round of the Iran-Six nation talks was held in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on May 23-24.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran… wants to advance the nuclear talks," Jalili said, adding that talks just for the sake of talks "are not useful" and expressed the hope that an agenda could still be drafted.
The United States has warned it will tighten sanctions against Iran if the Moscow negotiations fail to make progress on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
Iran also denied allegation that it is cleaning up a military site to destroy evidence of its development of nuclear weapons.
The denial comes in the wake of allegation raised by the board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that satellite images indicate Iran is removing soil at the Parchin military complex where, the West suspects, nuclear-related tests were conducted.
Tehran's chief nuclear envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh denounced western countries for making allegations against his country based on information "forged by the United States and other countries." Likening IAEA to an intelligence agency, he said there was no question of Iran giving up uranium enrichment.
Iran and the IAEA are expected to resume talks on the country's nuclear development on Friday. The focus of the meeting is whether they can create a framework to verify Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.