Russia discontent with lack of dialogue over Iranian nuclear program

An image grab taken from footage broadcast by Iran's state-run Arabic-language Al-Alam TV on May 11, 2011 shows Iranian scientists receiving a shipment of nuclear fuel from Russia for use at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant (AFP Photo / Al-Alam TV)
Moscow is concerned over the fact that the Sextet meeting has not been coordinated, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Monday.

­The situation over the Iranian nuclear program will not improve without dialogue, the diplomat said, adding that the date of the meeting has not been set.

The EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Catherine Ashton and Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Sayeed Jalili have exchanged letters regarding the issue, Ryabkov said, without getting into details.

He also noted that Russia is concerned over Washington’s unilateral sanctions introduced against several Iranian companies. They can affect Russian economic interests, the diplomat said.

Moscow opposes any unilateral sanctions against Tehran which are introduced without first having been coordinated with the UN Security Council. Ryabkov stressed that presently, dialogue with Tehran is indispensable. He described the meeting of the presidents of Russia, Iran and Kazakhstan that took place this month in Astana as providing an impetus for international talks over Iran’s nuclear program.  

Meanwhile, the Bushehr nuclear power plant has been completed and specialists will launch it in August, Ryabkov said. The plant will be linked to the power grid in slightly more than a month, and it will commence with commercial operation in early August, he told reporters. According to the diplomat, the project has been finished, and specialists will then make a final decision regarding the date of the launch.  

If this happens in the first days of August, it will fully meet the expectations of both Moscow and Teheran, Ryabkov said. It is not ruled out, however, that the plant may be launched several days later. This is not a problem, the diplomat said, as all the work has already been completed.

The Bushehr project would not endanger international stability, Ryabkov noted, as the power plant was built in compliance with international norms. Interfax quoted the diplomat as saying that the Russian leadership even believes that “the nuclear non-proliferation regime will be strengthened considerably.”