Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Iran is prepared to suspend the production of enriched uranium, adding that the move would justify the easing of economic sanctions against Tehran.
Workers at a uranium conversion facility outside the city of Isfahan
On June 18, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted Lavrov's comments from an interview with Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.
In the interview, Lavrov said, "The Iranians have confirmed the main thing -- a readiness to agree on a suspension of uranium enrichment to 20 percent."
He would not be specific about how the information was confirmed.
Lavrov said it could lead to a "breakthrough agreement" that would ease tensions between Iran and the international community.
Lavrov said the international community should respond to Iran's "constructive steps."
Sanctions were imposed on Iran by United Nations resolutions because of fears that Tehran was using its nuclear program to make a weapon. [Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.]
Iranian cleric Hassan Rohani's election win has raised hopes of greater flexibility in Tehran on nuclear and other issues. Rohani is a former nuclear negotiator for Iran.
But a U.S. State Department spokeswoman told reporters on June 17 that Washington is open to new nuclear talks with Iran but that the United States wants Iran to respond first to an offer of sanctions relief in return for Iranian nuclear concessions.
Psaki noted that the ultimate decisions on Iran's nuclear program are made by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Copyright (c) 2013 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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