Thursday, March 30, 2006

Russia urges Iran to heed Security Council advice

Russia called on Iran on Thursday to carefully study the statement released by the UN Security Council on its nuclear issue and cooperate with the UN's nuclear watchdog. READ MORE

"We urge the Iranian authorities to carefully listen to the unanimous opinion of UN Security Council members and seek cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on all remaining issues," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a presidential statement on Wednesday calling on Iran to resume suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities within 30 days.

The statement was passed after the five permanent council members -- the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia --reached agreement on the text earlier in the day, ending three weeks of haggling over its contents.

The statement "reflects the unanimous opinion of the council: Iran's cooperation with the IAEA is required in order to clear the uncertainties linked to its program," the ministry said.

"We would like to see the Iranian nuclear program move into a predictable track in the near future ... through Iran's constructive cooperation with the IAEA," it said.

Iran resumed nuclear fuel research in January, prompting the decision of the IAEA last month to report it to the UN Security Council. Tehran denies the U.S. charge of developing nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, insisting on its right to peaceful nuclear technology.

But the council expressed concerns over the fact that the IAEA cannot confirm the existence of unauthorized nuclear activity in Iran and has asked the IAEA to continue its work to clear all remaining doubts over Iran's nuclear program, the ministry said.

In Berlin, foreign ministers from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany met to discuss the future strategy towards Iran. The ministers urged Iran to suspend all enrichment activities and return to the negotiating table in a statement after the meeting.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was up to Iran to choose isolation or negotiation to solve the nuclear issue.