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Russia: No sign Iran developing atomic arms, report



Russia says it has found no evidence showing that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, defying a recent IAEA report on Iran which alleged that the country has expanded its atomic work despite outside pressures.

Russia sees no evidence that Iran's nuclear program is aimed at developing weapons, the Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Thursday.

"We, as before, see no signs that there is a military dimension to Iran's nuclear program. No signs," Interfax quoted Ryabkov - Russia's point man for diplomacy on Iran's nuclear program - as saying.

"We see something different - that there is nuclear material ... in Iran that is under the control of inspectors, specialists of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"This nuclear material is not being shifted to military needs, this is officially confirmed by the (IAEA)," according to Reuters.

Russia with the United States and four other powers are part of diplomatic efforts done by the 5+1 group talking with Tehran on its nuclear program.

Moscow says the West is undermining those efforts by hitting Iran with too many sanctions.

The IAEA claimed last week that Iran had doubled the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges it has in an underground bunker in a few months, showing it continued to expand its nuclear program despite sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack.

Russia has warned Israel and the United States against attacking Iran and said it opposes pressuring Tehran with further sanctions beyond the measures approved in four U.N. Security Council resolutions, the most recent in 2010.

The West alleges Iran is pursuing weapons in its atomic program. Tehran denies this charge.

Russia and China, which are part of the 5+1 countries, disapprove of sanctions outside what the U.N. Security Council decides.

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