MOSCOW, August 25 (Itar-Tass) — Further toughening of sanctions on Iran has fully exhausted its potential, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
Commenting on the so-called Lavrov Plan on ways to settle Iran’s nuclear problem, Lukashevich said, “We presented our own proposals to Iran. We hope that Iran reacts to them interestedly.”
Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi said on Wednesday that Tehran hoped to resume the talks with the Sextet based on the Moscow step-by-step plan (the so-called Lavrov Plan),
“Iran will study [Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov’s proposal. It is obvious that we informed him about our assessment and that he would put our position to other members of the Sextet,” he said, adding, “This will be one more reason for further talks between Iran and the Sextet.”
At the same time, the ambassador declined to comment on the date of the meeting. “Of course, it is very difficult to forecast. But the main thing is that the process is starting,” Sajjadi said.
Last week, when holding talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, Lavrov said he is not ready to specify the date when “Iran’s nuclear dossier” is settled.
“I can’t specify any date. It may be in the short term or in the medium term. All will depend on how concretely the participants in the talks [the Sextet and Iran] are able to work,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov noted, “For obvious reasons, much depends on when the parties are able to resume these talks.” “We hope that the ideas, which have been in the focus of today’s talks with the Iranian colleague and in which the Iranian minister has shown serious interest, will help us enter an active phase of our work,” the Russian minister said.
Lavrov said the Sextet and Iran would resume talks shortly. “I hope that we will be able to resume the talks in the short run.” “Much attention was paid to Iran’s nuclear programme. We are convinced that there is no alternative to solving the problem by political and diplomatic means. We informed our Iranian colleagues about the concept of reciprocity and on a phased basis. This is Russia’s initiative,” the minister said.
“As a whole it is interpreted by the Sextet members. I can say that our Iranian colleagues showed interest in working together in this aspect,” he added.
“We hope that this will help us move quicker as it was earlier. We hope that we will be able to resume talks in the short run,” Lavrov said.
In mid-2010 Iran came under a fourth set of UN sanctions, which Russia supported and were followed by tougher unilateral measures by the U.S. and the European Union. Russia won’t support new sanctions against Iran, Lavrov said.
Earlier, Lavrov said, “It’s a process which can only be successful if we count not on new sanctions and threats, but on negotiations.”
The IAEA has been probing Iran’s nuclear work since 2003, when it was revealed that the government had hidden atomic research for two decades. The U.S. has accused Iran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon, while Iran says its program is for energy production. Russia built Iran’s first nuclear power plant, in Bushehr, and plans to start full operations at the facility “very soon,” Rosatom State Corporation said on May 26.
In July 2010 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Iran was getting closer to achieving the capability to make nuclear weapons. Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, is rejecting U.N. demands to suspend enrichment of uranium, which can be used both for generating electricity and for making a nuclear warhead. Negotiations broke down in January after talks in Istanbul between Iran and the so-called Sextet, composed of Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain and the United States.
The six world powers, including Russia, China, the United States, Britain, France, and Germany, still disagree on the need for additional sanctions against Iran. In particular, China has announced that it is not the right time to take any new measures against Tehran, as members of the U.N. Security Council have already adopted five resolutions against that country. Iran is under three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to stop its nuclear programme.
Western countries insist that Iran develops its nuclear programme for military purposes, while Tehran claims it pursues purely civilian purposes.
In June 2008, the Sextet stated a set of proposals that “open up big opportunities for Iran’s broad cooperation with the international community in a number of areas, including nuclear energy”.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said that Iran was not providing the necessary cooperation that would convince the agency in the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran and in that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.
“Full implementation by Iran of its binding obligations is needed to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran·s nuclear programme. While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement,” Amano said.
Amano stressed, “Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the Agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”
He urged Iran “to take steps towards the full implementation of its Safeguards Agreement and its other obligations.”