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. Iran does not have capability to build nuclear bomb: Moscow
MOSCOW, Dec 9 (AFP) Dec 09, 2008
Iran does not currently have the capability to build a nuclear weapon, a senior Russian diplomat was quoted as saying by Interfax and ITAR-TASS news agencies Tuesday.

"One cannot say today that Iran can create nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them," Vladimir Voronkov, head of the Russian foreign ministry's department of European cooperation, was quoted as saying.

"This information is confirmed by all the services responsible for the collection and analysis of information," he added, in an apparent allusion to Russian intelligence agencies.

Contrasting the stances of Russia and the West on Iran's nuclear programme, he said that "the difference is that our partners want to use instruments of pressure. We do not consider such instruments to be always effective."

Russia has resisted tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, which the United States and Israel fear is being used as cover to develop an atomic bomb.

Iran vehemently denies the allegations, saying its nuclear programme is civilian in nature and aimed only at generating electricity.

Russia is one of the six countries negotiating with Iran over the nuclear issue along with the United States, Britain, China, France and Germany. It is also helping Iran build a civilian nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

Allegations that Tehran is seeking atomic weapons have raised fears that the United States or Israel could launch a pre-emptive strike to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

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