Top Russian official says Iran's nuclear program is strictly peaceful
22:09 | 30/ 04/ 2008

TEHRAN, April 30 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Russian government official said on Wednesday after talks with the Iranian leadership that the Islamic Republic was not developing nuclear weapons.

Valentin Sobolev, who serves as the acting head of Russia's Security Council, arrived in Tehran with a delegation of high-ranking Russian officials last Sunday to discuss with the Iranian leadership international and regional issues, as well as bilateral economic cooperation and the Iranian nuclear program.

"We believe that Iran is currently not involved in nuclear research for military purposes, but we are certain that our opinion must be shared by all countries involved in the resolution of this [Iranian uranium enrichment] problem," Sobolev said.

"We also believe that Iran must show more initiative and actively participate in talks with the Iran Six to clarify all outstanding controversial issues regarding its nuclear research," he said.

Russia has been involved in negotiations within the so-called 'Iran Six' that also includes the United States, Britain, China, France, and Germany to persuade Iran to freeze uranium enrichment.

Iran has so far defied three rounds of relatively mild United Nations Security Council sanctions over its nuclear program. Many Western nations suspect that the Islamic Republic is using the program as cover to build a nuclear weapon. Tehran insists however that it needs the nuclear program for electric power generation.

Sobolev also said that although Russia continued to maintain military-technical ties with the Islamic Republic, Moscow complied with its international obligations and did not intend to supply Tehran with offensive weapons.

"Russia does not supply Iran with offensive weaponry or with armaments that fall under international restrictions," the official said.

Russian contractor Atomstroyexport is building Iran's first nuclear power plant in Bushehr, in the southwest of the Islamic Republic.

Moscow also supplied Iran with 29 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems in late January under a $700-million contract signed in 2005, and trained Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders.