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. Russia against Security Council taking up Iran's nuclear issue
MOSCOW (AFP) Sep 29, 2004
Russia is against bringing up Iran's nuclear program at the UN Security Council and thinks the issue should be handled by the body's nuclear watchdog, a top official said Wednesday.

"Moving this question to the Security Council, which is a political body, does not correspond to the interests of the issue," Igor Ivanov, chief of Russia's Security Council, told reporters.

"This question falls under the mandate of the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency,) and the IAEA is ready to continue this work," he said at a press conference.

The IAEA has called on Tehran to immediately halt all activities related to uranium enrichment, a process that can make the explosive material for nuclear weapons.

The United States claims Iran is hiding a covert weapons development program and wants the agency to bring Iran before the UN Security Council in November.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and insists it has a right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program.

Russia is building the Islamic state's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr, a project that the United States and Israel insist could be used as a cover for Tehran to obtain nuclear weapons.

"Iran has shown in a justifiable matter that it must have access, like other countries, to new technologies, including nuclear technology used for peaceful means," Ivanov said.

"This is a viable justification and that is why Russia is cooperating with Iran."

Russia has said on several occasions that it will continue its nuclear cooperation with Iran as long as the nation complies with the IAEA.

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