Iran welcomes Russia's proposal on its nuclear issue

Iran welcomes Russia's proposal on its nuclear issue

Iran said Tuesday that it welcomes Russia's "step-by-step" approach proposal to resolve its nuclear standoff, Xinhua reported.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that "Iran welcomes Russia's initiation (of step-by-step approach proposal), and it is ready ... to cooperate in this regard," the presidential website reported.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks in a meeting with the visiting Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev on Tuesday, said the report.

Nikolai Patrushev, heading a delegation, arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks including Iran's nuclear issue.

In July, the Russian foreign minister called for a "step-by- step" approach to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff whereby Iran would address concerns and questions raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency about its nuclear activities in a staged schedule and in return economic sanctions imposed on Iran would be removed in a staged manner over time.

For his part, Patrushev said that Russia is also ready to further enhance cooperation with Iran in diverse areas of economy, transportation, communication and nuclear programs, according to Iran's presidential website.

Russia is fully ready to play its role in promoting the bilateral ties, cooperating in regional issues and launching Iran' s Bushehr nuclear power plant, he added.

Referring to Iran's nuclear issue, the Russian official said the issue should be solved through dialogue and negotiations.

Iran's president said that in order to expand relations between the two countries, it is necessary to "take positive steps in practice."

"Launching Iran's nuclear power plant (by Russia) can be one of those positive and effective steps," he was quoted as saying.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said on Tuesday that Russia's "step-by-step" approach proposal on Iran's nuclear issue can help resume "talks on peaceful nuclear cooperation."

Jalili, also Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), told reporters after two rounds of talks with his visiting Russian counterpart that "the proposals of our Russian friends can be a ground for the initiation of the talks for regional and international cooperation, especially for peaceful nuclear activities."

"The G5+1 (namely five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) and us (Islamic Republic), can build up the ground for such cooperation," Jalili was quoted as saying.

On Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast commented about Russia's "step-by-step" approach saying that the Islamic Republic has not received the proposed plan "officially and completely" yet.

Mehmanparast added "we will discuss details of the plan and express our views upon its receipt," according to local satellite Press TV.

Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Iran's nuclear issue should only be resolved through talks.

Moscow believed there was no alternative to the political- diplomatic solution to the problem, and compromises must be forged on the basis of step-by-step and mutual moves, Russian foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in an interview posted online.

He said mutually acceptable solutions and the restoration of the world's trust in the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program could only be reached through talks and cooperation.

Lukashevich made the remarks as Iranian Foreign Minister Ali- Akbar Salehi is scheduled to visit Moscow Tuesday and Wednesday and meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss the upcoming launch of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and the settlement of the nuclear issue.

The visit would follow Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev's arrival in Tehran on Monday.

Moscow is seeking to revive negotiations between Iran and major world powers - the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany.

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