27 February 2006 -- Russia today sought to downplay any progress it had made in three-day talks with Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.
Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's federal atomic agency, told reporters on his return from Iran today that there is "little time" left for agreements.
"A lot of work still needs to be done, and we have agreed that the talks will continue in Moscow in the very near future," he said. "The talks are not simple; they are complicated. But I would like to repeat that I am confident that a diplomatic solution is possible."
The two sides announced on 26 February that they had agreed in principle that Moscow would supply Iran with enriched uranium it needs for civilian nuclear power plants.
It remains unclear, however, whether Tehran is willing to give up uranium-enrichment activities in Iran entirely. The West is worried that Iran is seeking to develop atomic weapons.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on 27 February called on Iran not to pursue uranium enrichment on its own territory.
European Union officials said on 17 February that they have not yet received confirmation of the tentative deal.
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is due at a 6 March meeting to recommend whether the UN Security Council should consider punitive sanctions against Iran over the nuclear dispute.
Iran said today it sees "no reason" to back down in the dispute even if brought before the Security Council.
(compiled from agency reports)
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