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. Russia urges security guarantees for Iran: reports
MOSCOW, May 14 (AFP) May 14, 2008
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Wednesday on the top UN powers to give Iran security guarantees to help resolve the crisis over Tehran's nuclear programme, Russian news agencies reported.

Lavrov said that international powers negotiating with Iran "could put concrete proposals on the table guaranteeing the security of Iran and ensuring Iran a worthy, equal place in talks on resolving all problems in the near and Middle East," the agencies reported.

"Unfortunately not all members of the 'six' are prepared for this, but I am convinced that this is an effective way to remove the tension in the region and resolve the situation around the Iranian nuclear problem," Lavrov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti agency.

Lavrov spoke at a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

Germany, plus permanent UN Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, make up the six-nation group negotiating to end Iran's controversial uranium enrichment work and curb the nuclear programme.

Western powers fear Tehran wants to use its nuclear programme to make atomic weapons but the Islamic republic insists the drive is peaceful and solely aimed at providing energy for a growing population.

The six have been using a mix of incentives and sanctions to try to persuade Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment work.

Russia has relatively close ties to Iran and has built the country's first nuclear power station, for which it is also supplying the uranium fuel.

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