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. Russia's actions show suspicion over Iran nuclear program: Rice
SHANNON, Ireland, Oct 11 (AFP) Oct 12, 2007
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that Russia has shown it is concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions, even though its president said Moscow has no proof that Tehran is seeking the bomb.

"I think that concern was seen for instance in Russia's offer to Iran to enrich and reprocess (uranium) on Russian territory ... in a joint venture and to bring back any spent fuel so that the fuel cycle would not be available to Iran," Rice told reporters on a flight to Russia.

"And I think there is a reason for that. And it is suspicion about Iran's intentions," she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made clear Wednesday that he disagrees with Western accusations that Iran is using a civilian nuclear program, in which Russia is constructing the first power plant, to mask a bomb-making project.

"We do not have information that Iran is trying to create a nuclear weapon. We operate on the principle that Iran does not have those plans," Putin told journalists after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

But he added that Russia shared the West's desire for Iran's nuclear program to be "absolutely transparent."

Russia's proposal for a joint venture, which was offered to Iran more than a year ago, has been rejected by Tehran.

Russia, which has veto power on the UN Security Council like other permanent members, has been reluctant to back US-led calls for tougher sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to halt nuclear activities that Washington and EU capitals say are designed to build an atomic arsenal.

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