TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Russia said it believed Iran’s nuclear program was peaceful, and a political dialogue, not sanctions, must be used in talks with Tehran.
“We do not have information that would suggest that Iran is carrying out a non-peaceful (nuclear) program,” Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov told a news conference in Moscow.
“We believe that the possibilities for continuing political discussion around this problem (Iran’s nuclear program) have not been exhausted,” he said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation on Monday that talks over Iran’s nuclear dispute were being hindered because the European side did not have enough authority.
“The most important problem in continuing Iran and Europe’s negotiations (over the nuclear issue) is the European side’s lack of enough authority (to take decisions),” an Iranian television report quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Putin.
In a statement on Monday, the Kremlin said Putin had told the Iranian leader that Moscow favored further talks.
Iran says negotiations are the only way to resolve the dispute. But Iran’s failure to meet a UN deadline to halt enrichment has opened up the possibility of UN sanctions.
European states have prepared a draft sanctions resolution but Russia has voiced misgivings.
“Sanctions should not be adopted for their own sake,” Ivanov said.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana held months of talks with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani. But those talks did not reach a deal and Solana said this month it was up to Iran to decide if talks should continue.
“Some Western countries create obstacles and prevent a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear case,” Ahmadinejad said.
Iran has often blamed the United States, its arch-foe, for seeking to sway others against Iran. Washington has been seeking to toughen the sanctions resolution.Â