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Russian FM: Visit to Iran's nuclear facilities is not substitute for IAEA inspections

Politics Materials 13 January 2011 17:29
Visiting Iran's nuclear facilities should not be considered as a substitute for IAEA inspections and negotiations between Tehran and the "Six" international mediators to resolve the controversy surrounding the country's nuclear program, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow, the "Russia 24" television channel reported.
Russian FM: Visit to Iran's nuclear facilities is not substitute for IAEA inspections

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 13 / Trend T.Konyayeva/

Visiting Iran's nuclear facilities should not be considered as a substitute for IAEA inspections and negotiations between Tehran and the "Six" international mediators to resolve the controversy surrounding the country's nuclear program, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow, the "Russia 24" television channel reported.

"This visit should in no way be considered as a substitute for IAEA inspections, and inspection of facilities by range of countries which are attracted to it should not be considered as a substitute for negotiations between Iran and the Six," Lavrov said.

Earlier,  Iranian representative to IAEA Ali Askar Soltaniyeh  sent a letter of invitation to visit Iran's nuclear facilities to Russia, China, the Group -77 (G-77), as well as the Non-Aligned Movement.

The document said the optimum date for the visit is Jan. 15- 16 before the upcoming negotiations of the Six and Iran in Istanbul. The visit comes ahead of a meeting between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany in Istanbul on Jan. 21-22.

Lavrov said Iran's proposal is really worthy of attention, as any gesture that says more about the openness of Iran in cooperation with the international community should be welcomed.

"How to organize such a visit is a matter for specialists, especially given that these are nuclear facilities," he said.

Representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement, the G-77 and the Arab Union, as well as the ambassadors of Syria and Venezuela, will pay a two-day visit to a uranium enrichment plant in Natanz and a heavy water research reactor in Arak on Jan. 15, Iranian representative to IAEA Ali Askar Soltaniyeh was quoted as saying by the ISNA.

He added that the Iranian side is waiting for a response from the other guests.

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hung Lai said that the Chinese representative is unable to take part in the trip on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"The representative of China in Vienna is located in Beijing and he will find it difficult to participate in the visit," he said.

Regarding the upcoming talks, Lavrov said at a meeting of Iran and the Six in Istanbul, Russia will stand for the early start of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program.

"The agenda may be comprehensive and should include issues of eliminating blind spots in the Iranian nuclear program, it will require cooperation with the IAEA," he said. "But the agenda should also include all other aspects that are of interest to all parties, including Iran, and the security issues and questions that need to be addressed to ensure full return of Iran into the international community."

Lavrov also stressed that there is no alternative to finding a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear program, and possible use of force is counterproductive.

Another round of talks on the Iranian nuclear issue ended in Geneva on Dec.7. Deputy foreign ministers of Russia, the United States, Great Britain, China, France, Germany and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton attended the talks.

The result of talks was an agreement to continue the consultations in late January in Istanbul. 

The United States and other Western countries accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons under cover of peaceful nuclear energy program. Tehran denies the charges, saying its nuclear program is aimed at meeting the country's electricity needs.

The U.N. Security Council adopted six resolutions in connection with the suspension of Iran's nuclear program, with four of them involving the use of economic sanctions on the country.

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