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Russia, Iran to Hold Nuclear Consultations Soon
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that fresh nuclear consultations with Iran will be held soon.

"A day or two ago Iran again offered to hold consultations with us, and they will be held in the near future," Lavrov told a press briefing, the Interfax news agency reported.

Lavrov said the consultations would be bilateral.

Asked to comment on reports that Tehran has rejected Russia's offer to set up a joint venture for uranium enrichment, Lavrov said, "Frankly, I cannot comment on any Iranian refusal because of contradictory signals from Tehran - one moment they refuse, the next they do not," he said.

"I want to say once again that we are disappointed with Tehran's conduct at the negotiations. They are not helping those who want to ensure a peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue," Lavrov said.

"Our proposal has never depended on whether Tehran accepts it or not," he said. "It was made in line with multilateral efforts to settle the situation, the proposal is valid only in the frame of achieving common agreements, including the restoration of Iran's moratorium uranium enrichment," Lavrov said.

Russia's proposal to establish a joint Russian-Iranian venture for the uranium enrichment, backed by Western countries, which is seen as a crucial attempt to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, was refused by Iran at the beginning of this month.

(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2006)

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