Friday, June 16, 2006

Russia expects swift answer on nuclear talks from Iran - Lavrov

RIA Novosti:
Russia's foreign minister said Friday he expects an answer from Iran on starting talks to resolve the crisis around its nuclear program in the near future.

"Iran was positive about the proposals put forward by six countries [negotiating a way to solve the problem] to start talks. Iran is ready for such talks. In the near future Iran will announce a timeframe to hold the talks," Lavrov told journalists. READ MORE

Lavrov also said a Russian offer to create a joint venture with Iran to enrich uranium for the Islamic Republic's research program on Russian soil remained on the negotiating table.

He said the offer was part of a package coordinated with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

"Taken separately, the joint venture offer is irrelevant since it is based on a comprehensive approach toward Iran's nuclear program," Lavrov said, adding that this was Russia's original intention in making the offer.

"For some reason everyone got the impression that it is a magic wand: If the offer is accepted, everything will be all right; if not, everything will be bad," the minister said. "The reality is very different."