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Russia Offers 'Phased' Approach on Iran

Service : Politic
TEHRAN, July 15 (ICANA) – Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has laid out a new “step-by-step” approach that would enable Iran to take steps to address questions raised by the UN nuclear agency on the country's nuclear program.
Friday, July 15, 2011 12:07:30 PM
Russia Offers 'Phased' Approach on Iran

Lavrov made the suggestion in a press conference following his talks with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the US State Department in Washington on Wednesday.

According to the plan, Iran can revive negotiations to alleviate individual concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its nuclear activities and be rewarded along the way by partial removal of sanctions.

The approach would start out with the easiest questions and move onto more complicated ones that would require a longer time to respond to, according to the Russian official.

"The response to each specific step of Iran would be followed by some reciprocal steps, like freezing some sanctions and shortening the volume of sanctions," Lavrov said at a news conference with Clinton.

The Russian foreign minister pointed to differences between Russian and US positions on the issue and described them as "yet another example of the fact that there are problems on our agenda."

Washington has been resistant to easing sanctions against Iran on the grounds that it would lose its 'leverage' on Tehran. However, Clinton didn't immediately reject the plan.

"We are committed to our dual track of pressure and engagement and we want to explore with the Russians ways that we can perhaps pursue more effective engagement strategies," she said.

The US secretary of state further noted that the issue would be raised during a meeting between Russian and US experts in Moscow in the future.

Iran insists that as a member of the IAEA and a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has a right to use the peaceful applications of nuclear energy for electricity generation and medical research.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted towards military purposes.

On Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano held talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna and agreed to establish a new mechanism to help resolve outstanding issues pertaining to Iran's nuclear issue.

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