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Putin Admits Concern Over Iran Nuclear Program
AFP file image of Putin having a friendly chat with Iran's President Ahmadinejad earlier this year.
AFP file image of Putin having a friendly chat with Iran's President Ahmadinejad earlier this year.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Dec 07, 2006
Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted Thursday that Russia was "concerned" over Iran's nuclear program and urged Tehran to an "active and transparent cooperation" with the International Atomic Energy Agency. "One cannot say that the IAEA does not have serious questions on certain aspects of Iran's past nuclear activity," Putin said in an interview with the Mexican publisher Mario Vasquez Rana.

"The IAEA cannot as yet confirm the absence of undeclared (i.e. military) nuclear activities. All this sparks concern as to the purposes of this country's nuclear program," Putin said.

"Our efforts... are aimed at having Iran clarify the remaining questions in an active and transparent cooperation and dialogue with the IAEA. Thus it would restore trust in the peaceful character" of its program, the Russian leader added.

Political directors from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- the UN Security Council's permanent members -- and Germany met in Paris late Wednesday to talk about what action to take against Iran, which defied a UN deadline of August 31 to cease enriching uranium.

Russia and China -- which have strong economic interests in Iran -- have tried to water down a draft Security Council resolution drawn up by France, Britain and Germany, while the United States has sought to harden it.

According to diplomats in Paris, Russia is willing to back the trade ban against Iran, but remains opposed to sanctions being applied to individuals, though it will accept a ban on shipments of sensitive goods.

Bush deplores Iran's nuclear 'obstinance'

US President George W. Bush on Thursday ruled out direct talks with Iran unless the Islamic republic verifiably freezes sensitive nuclear work, and deplored Tehran's "obstinance" on the matter.

"We've made our choice. Iran now has an opportunity to make its choice. I would hope they would make the choice that most of the free world wants them to make," he said after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"There is no need to isolate your people. There is no need to continue this obstinance when it comes to your stated desires to have a nuclear weapon," said Bush.

Tehran denies it seeks nuclear weapons.

"And should they agree to verifiably suspend their (uranium) enrichment, the United States will be at the table with our partners," he said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Time May Be Ripe For UN Security Council Vote On Iran Says US
Washington (AFP) Dec 06, 2006
The United States said Wednesday that the time may have come for the UN Security Council to vote on a resolution punishing Iran over its sensitive nuclear program. The assessment came after six major powers failed at a meeting in Paris Wednesday to reach agreement on what sanctions to impose on Iran for failing to suspend uranium enrichment, which can fuel a nuclear reactor or be used to make an atomic bomb.

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