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Chairman of Iran-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Group

Sanaei: Moscow Seeks to Firm up Strategic Ties with Tehran

Service : Politic
TEHRAN, Aug 20 (ICANA) – A top Iranian lawmaker says Russia wants to consolidate its strategic ties with Tehran.
Saturday, August 20, 2011 6:36:05 PM
Sanaei: Moscow Seeks to Firm up Strategic Ties with Tehran

Mahdi Sanaei, chairman of Iran-Russian Parliamentary Group made the remark in an interview with ICANA on Saturday when he was asked to comment on Russia's new proposal to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff with the West.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he hoped that talks between global powers and Iran on Iran's nuclear program would resume soon on the basis of a Russian proposal.

There were no immediate details on Moscow's proposal, but Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi praised the document for its "step-by-step" approach to the dispute.

In July, Lavrov called for a "phased" approach to resolve Iran's nuclear issue whereby Iran would address questions raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 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.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi officially received the "step-by-step” plan put forward by Russia to help settle Iran's nuclear issue. The delivery came during Salehi's trip to Moscow on Friday.

Russian National Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev arrived in Tehran Monday in a bid to discuss the Russian proposal as well as regional and international matters, but he did not deliver the offer officially to Iranian authorities.

Commenting on increased diplomatic shuttles between Iran and Russia, Sanaei said one reason could be that Russia's Eastward approach has been consolidated under the influence of global developments particularly the events in the Middle East. Another reason could be the fact that Russia's relations with the US have assumed a different turn and for the same reason they want to strengthen their ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Commenting on Patrushev's Iran visit, the senior lawmaker said that in his meetings in Tehran the Russian diplomat kept underlining the need for promoting the strategic ties between the two countries. It seems, he added, that the Russians do not trust the current policies adopted by 5+1 to resolve Iran's nuclear issue and consider them ineffective.

The MP also said that consolidation of strategic ties between Iran and Russia was the demand of both sides, adding that Moscow is trying to find an effective but moderate solution to Iran's nuclear issue. If Russia succeeds in this effort the significance of its international role would be further enhanced.

On the silence of Western countries regarding Russia's step-by-step plan, Sanaei said members of 5+1 hold a positive attitude towards Tehran-Moscow talks and they are now evaluating the situation. He also stressed that the Iranian delegation must try so that the trend of the talks would serve its best interests.

Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hailed the plan and said "the offer could be considered under the framework of dialogue-cooperation."

"Iran agrees with the entity of the plan and a new step-by-step move, but bilateral steps should be taken as well," Salehi said.

The US and other 5+1countries have refused to show any reaction regarding the suggestion.

The UN Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions against Iran so far over its refusal to halt peaceful nuclear program.

The embargo mainly targets Iran's banking and energy sectors as well as insurance and shipping industry.

Iran insists its enrichment work only seeks peaceful purposes, whereas the West claims that Iran is after nuclear weapon.

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