( RIA Novosti ) - The refusal to acknowledge Iran's cooperation with the UN over its controversial nuclear program reduces the possibility of an eventual solution to the dispute, Russia's foreign minister said on Wednesday.
"A constant refusal to acknowledge the positive steps taken by Iran in its contacts with the [UN nuclear watchdog] IAEA will reduce the chances of clearing up the issues directly," Sergei Lavrov said, in an apparent reference to the U.S. and its allies, who have sought tough measures against Tehran.
Many Western countries suspect Iran of using its nuclear program as a shield to build nuclear weapons. Iran has denied this, saying the program is designed to generate energy.
A report delivered earlier this month by the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, stresses the positive aspects of Iran's "nuclear dossier," saying the country has provided extra documentation, but notes that the Islamic Republic is still denying UN inspectors access to Iranian experts involved in its nuclear program.
ElBaradei said that Iran was also continuing to enrich uranium, a process necessary for both weapons production and electricity generation.
The report prompted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to call on Washington and its allies to apologize for their suspicions and to demand the lifting of two sets of UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment activities.
Speaking to journalists on his way back from Tuesday's U.S-sponsored Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, Lavrov urged further nuclear talks with Tehran, warning, however, that they should not be politicized.