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. Moscow reiterates opposition to Iran UN referral
MOSCOW (AFP) Nov 15, 2005
Moscow remains opposed to Tehran being referred to the UN Security Council over its controversial nuclear programme ahead of a key meeting later this month, a top Russian official said Tuesday.

"The search for a solution needs to be found in the course and in the framework of the IAEA," Interfax news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak as saying ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency's meeting on November 24.

Washington believes Iran's nuclear programme is a cover for manufacturing nuclear weapons, while Tehran has insisted on its right to atomic energy technology with peaceful intentions.

"There are a whole series of questions that remain but Iran has done a lot in recent years to make its nuclear programme transparent," Kislyak said.

Earlier this week, the Iranian foreign ministry confirmed Tehran's refusal to allow one of the most controversial aspects of its nuclear programme -- uranium enrichment -- to be carried out on Russian territory.

Russia, which is completing Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr, had put forward the uranium enrichment compromise proposal as a way of helping defuse the diplomatic impasse over Iran.

In September, Russia abstained from a vote by the IAEA's board of governors that found Iran in non-compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and opened the door for referral to the UN Security Council.

Russia has a right of veto in the Security Council as a permanent member.

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