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. Russian urges speedy resumption of Iranian nuclear talks
MOSCOW (AFP) Oct 12, 2005
Russia Wednesday urged Iran to resume talks with the Europeans to resolve a dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme, saying Moscow was willing to take an active part in seeking solutions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov consulted with Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki on Iran's nuclear programme, a subject of friction between Moscow and Washington.

Iran denies it is pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.

A foreign ministry statement here said Russia had "expressed its wish to see a speedy resumption of the process of negotiation between Iran and the 'European troika' (Britain, France and Germany) on the Iranian nuclear programme to achieve a political and diplomatic settlement of this problem."

Russia was "ready to take an active share in this process."

Iran's disputed nuclear programme has been a source of friction between Russia and the United States, with Moscow keen to follow through with an 800 million dollar (670 million euro) deal to build a reactor in the Iranian port of Bushehr.

Tehran froze its enrichment programme two years ago as a "confidence building measure" amid talks with the European Union on guaranteeing the safety of its nuclear programme.

Negotiations between Iran and the three European Union member-states on resolving differences were broken off in August and Iran resumed enrichment.

Iran said Wednesday it was willing to resume dialogue with the three Europeans but Iranian officials say they are not prepared to suspend anew their uranium enrichment programme, the condition posed by the troika for resuming talks.

The board of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last month adopted a resolution condemning Iran for resuming uranium enrichment.

The resolution found Iran in "non-compliance" with nuclear proliferation safeguards, a possible trigger for taking the matter to the UN Security Council. Russia abstained.

On October 3 Russia urged Iran to adopt an agreement allowing snap international inspections of its controversial atomic facilities by the IAEA.

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