MOSCOW, (Reuters) – Russia and Iran continued nuclear talks on Tuesday, Interfax news agency reported, after Moscow accused Tehran of thwarting diplomatic efforts to dispel Western fears about the Islamic Republic’s atomic programme.
Iran has been reported to the U.N. Security Council after failing to convince the international community that its nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful.
The talks, which were being held behind closed doors, were launched at Iran’s initiative on Monday, Interfax quoted a diplomatic source as saying.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment. Iran has confirmed talks were underway.
“(Ali) Hosseinitash, strategic deputy of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), with the Iranian delegation, took part in talks in Moscow on Monday,” SNSC Spokesman Hossein Entezami told the official IRNA news agency.
It was not clear whether the two sides were discussing a Russian proposal to enrich uranium on Iran’s behalf. The plan was designed to reassure the international community that Iranian uranium would not be diverted into warheads.
Previous rounds of talks on the issue made no progress because the Iranians refused to surrender their right to enrich uranium on their own soil. There has been no sign they intend to give ground.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was “disappointed” by Iran’s conduct in the talks, adding that it was not helping those who wanted a peaceful solution.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Sunday the Russian proposal was no longer on Iran’s agenda. But Russian officials and Entezami rejected Asefi’s remarks and said Tehran-Moscow diplomacy would continue.