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Iran Nuclear Talks Should Continue, Putin Tells Ahmadinejad
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Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a telephone conversation on Monday that Moscow favored further talks on Iran's nuclear program, the Kremlin said.

"While discussing the Iranian nuclear program, Putin stated Russia's fundamental position of support for the continuation of talks on the issue," the Kremlin press service said in a brief statement.

The two leaders also discussed cooperation between the two countries, the statement said.

The United States is seeking to impose sanctions on Iran through the UN Security Council on the grounds that Tehran is developing a nuclear-weapons program under the garb of a civilian-use program. Iran, however, says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier this month that Russia will oppose any attempts to use the UN Security Council to punish Iran for its disputed nuclear program.

"We will oppose any attempts to use the Security Council to punish Iran or use Iran's nuclear program to promote the idea of ousting the regime there," Lavrov said in an interview with the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.

Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States unveiled a package in June offering incentives and multilateral talks to Iran in exchange for a freeze on its uranium enrichment work.

Tehran has said that it wants talks with Europe, Russia, China and the United States, but it will not suspend its nuclear work as a prerequisite.

Iran, which failed to meet a UN Security Council deadline for suspending its enrichment work by Aug. 31, said on Friday it had fed gas into a second cascade of centrifuges at a uranium enrichment facility, doubling its uranium enrichment capability from the previous cascade of 164 centrifuges.

(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2006)



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