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No proof Iran had nukes: Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says there is no proof that Iran has been trying to build an atomic bomb. This follows a U.S. intelligence report clearing Tehran of developing atomic bombs. Despite this, European Union and NATO foreign ministers ha

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad hailed the report as proof of the peaceful nature of his country's nuclear programme. But U.S. President George W. Bush continues to insist that the issue remains a global problem.

“The Iranian government has more to explain about its nuclear intentions and past actions, especially the covert nuclear weapons programme pursued into the fall of 2003, which the Iranian regime has yet to acknowledge,” Bush said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have supported the U.S. standpoint.

At the same time, experts in the United States maintain that President Bush’s accusations are groundless.
Joseph Cirincione, Senior Fellow and Director of Nuclear Policy at the Washington-based Center of American Progress, says it's a “very embarrassing” situation for the Bush administration.
“This is the second time they’ve been wrong about the nuclear weapons capability of a country they considered dangerous. The first mistake was in Iraq where nothing the U.S. said about Iraq’s capabilities turned out to be true – and now with Iran,” Cirincione said.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Moscow remains wary of tougher measures towards Tehran, claiming Iran's nuclear programme is not as big a problem as the U.S. makes it out to be.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia has never seen proof that Tehran ever had a nuclear weapons programme.

“The data possessed by our American partners, or at least the data shown to us, gives no reason to assume Iran has ever pursued a military nuclear programme,” he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has come under U.S pressure to pursue a more hardline policy over Iran's nuclear programme, is optimistic that the crisis can be solved through diplomacy.
IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei says there's a “window of opportunity” to resolve the crisis.
“I hope all parties will use it. I see it reinforces our conclusion, but Iran needs to understand that they still need to work with us,”
ElBaradei said.  
Iran has been co-operating with the IAEA and says it is trying to meet all the agency's demands.
RT military analyst Evgeny Khrushchev says in the aftermath of the intelligence report, the Bush administration may have to take a more restrained stance on Iran.
“There’s still a grain of hope that now under international pressure, the United States itself will reconsider its belligerent position and will learn the same lesson as the intelligence community which admitted their mistakes and subsequently came up with a new realistic assessment of Iranian nuclear capabilities,”
he said.