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5/28/06

Russia Opposes Use Of Force Against Iran Over Nuclear Program

By VOA News

Russia's national security chief says Moscow opposes any use of force against Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

Igor Ivanov made the comment Sunday during a meeting in Tehran with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

The Russian official arrived in Tehran late Saturday on a two-day visit to discuss Iran's controversial nuclear program, including incentives to be offered if the Islamic Republic suspends uranium enrichment. He also planned to discuss international threats of sanctions if Iran continues the program.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia , plus Germany, have been working on a package of incentives to try to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium. The group is also considering punitive measures in case incentives fail.

The United States has publicly said it is not interested in negotiating directly with Iran.

But a report in the New York Times Saturday said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is discussing with top aides the possibility of direct contacts with Tehran.

The U.S. has avoided direct contact ever since Iranian revolutionaries seized U.S. Embassy employees in 1979 and held them hostage for more than a year.

The U.S. and Europe believe Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 5/28/06 ... --



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