Iran welcomes Russian proposal to restart nuclear talks

Iran’s foreign minister hailed Moscow’s proposal to resolve the Islamic republic’s vexed nuclear issue ahead of talks with his Russian counterpart on Wednesday.

Last month, Moscow called for a step-by-step process in which Iran would take steps to ease global tension over its nuclear program and the UN would gradually ease its sanctions.

“This proposal is very important,” Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters in Moscow. “We agree that talks on the Iranian nuclear issue should be restarted, but we will not accept any pressure.”

“We proceed from the premise that cooperation and talks are a more reasonable approach,” Salehi said.

He also said that the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s first, would be launched “very soon.” The Bushehr project has been dogged by repeated delays. The station began operating at a low level in May.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said the scheme’s success depended on “how concretely the participants of those talks can work together.”

Russia is one of the six world powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, which the West fears is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran says it is for civilian use.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad welcomed the new plan after talks with the head of Russia’s Security Council in Tehran on Tuesday.

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