Russia: Iran Close to Nuclear Weapons


medvedevRussian President Dmitri Medvedev said today that Iran is getting closer to having the potential to build a nuclear weapon. The Russian leader said having such a potential is not a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. His remarks to Russian diplomats today in Moscow, however, seemed to indicate concern at the ongoing standoff with Iran.The Russian leader said sanctions normally do not produce the desired results. He said what is needed now is a resumption of dialogue with Tehran over its sensitive nuclear activities.

Russia last month joined other world powers in approving a fourth set of U.N. sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment operations. Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons under the cover of its civilian nuclear program – a charge repeatedly denied by Iranian authorities.

Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Sunday that Iran has produced about 20 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium. Iran says it will be used for a research reactor in Tehran.

Russia is traditionally a diplomatic and economic ally of Iran, and it is helping Tehran build a nuclear power plant at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf. Moscow has hardened its position, though, against Iran’s other nuclear activities in recent months.

{Reuters/Noam Newscenter}