Russia says US backs Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor
( dpa ) - US support of Russia's assistance to develop and supply the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr has given Iran an opportunity to build a civilian nuclear programme, the Russian envoy to the UN said Tuesday.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said one day after the UN Security Council voted to impose additional sanctions against Iran for refusing to stop uranium enrichment that Tehran should understand the "new reality" and cooperate with the international community.
The new reality is defined by the unity of response from the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - the council's five permanent members, and Germany, Churkin said.
The foreign ministers of those six countries issued in London a statement on Monday supporting the new sanctions against Iran.
Churkin said Washington had dropped its "strong objection" to Russian supplies of enriched uranium for the Bushehr reactor, built with Russian assistance for civilian energy needs by Iran.
"What happened in the past is the past, now we have a different format of negotiations," Churkin told reporters. "I suggest that there is a great opportunity for Iran (in) the offers by the six (foreign ministers), including the opportunity of overcoming its problems with the US."
In the past Iran negotiated with the European troika - Britain, France and Germany - but now has to deal with all five permanent members and Germany.
Churkin said Russia is taking part in the process and is Iran's "good neighbour and friend." He urged Tehran to study the statement by the six foreign ministers, who called for renewed dialogue to settle the nuclear dispute.
"There is also a new reality of assurances, not just in words but in deeds," Churkin said, referring to promises to help Iran with its civilian nuclear energy programme.
"The US support is an indication of the good will of the international community, something which hopefully has created a better background for Iran to consider suspension (of its uranium enrichment) and allow negotiations to start," Churkin said.
The Russian diplomat said his government will continue to supply nuclear fuel for the Bushehr reactor which, he said, should be an incentive for Iran to stop its own uranium enrichment programme.
Western nations fear that Iran's uranium conversion could be used to produce weapons-grade fuel, a charge rejected by Tehran. On the other hand, those nations said Russian enriched uranium is under safeguards of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
Tehran on Tuesday made clear the new sanctions will not affect its nuclear programme.
"The latest UN resolution will have no impact on Iran's will to pursue peaceful nuclear programmes," Tehran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini.
"The resolution is contrary to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports and rather politically motivated and hostile. We condemn this resolution and consider it as anti-Iranian, valueless and unacceptable," the spokesman said.
Iran also rejected sanctions in 2006 and 2007, which also demanded a halt in uranium conversion.