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. Russian FM wants more diplomacy on Iran
ANKARA, Feb 18 (AFP) Feb 18, 2008
The international community must increase its diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview aired Monday.

"I cannot imagine that anyone would like to resolve the problem over Iran's nuclear programme by force. This is absolutely unacceptable," Lavrov told Turkey's NTV news channel.

"All of us should increase their efforts by three or four times to try to find a solution through negotiations," he said.

The UN Security Council has already slapped two rounds of sanctions on Iran and the United States and European countries are keen for a third set in face of Tehran's ongoing uranium enrichment.

A final decision is likely to hinge on a new report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, expected later this month.

"Many people expect the report to fill in the information gaps on Iran's nuclear programme," Lavrov said.

He said he hoped "we can make fresh efforts to persuade Iran to sit at the table for discussions on the parametres of talks, if not for talks."

Lavrov denounced Iran on Wednesday for constantly demonstrating its intentions to develop rocket technologies and enrich uranium.

Western diplomats said last week that Iran had started feeding small amounts of uranium gas into advanced centrifuges in what could be a major step towards mastering the technology used to make both nuclear energy and weapons material.

A permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has defended Tehran's civilian nuclear ambitions and denied US-led allegations that Iran poses a security threat or is planning to build a nuclear weapon.

Russian engineers are close to finishing Iran's first atomic power station at Bushehr, which is to be powered with Russian-supplied uranium.

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