Russia expects progress in Iranian nuclear talks

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MOSCOW, April 3 — Moscow hopes proposals made by world mediators to Iran over its nuclear program could lay the foundation for negotiations on solving the problem, Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said Wednesday.

Russia was “closely coordinating” with the P5+1 group, which includes China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, on the Iranian nuclear issue, Morgulov told the Interfax news agency.

Moscow expected “an updated package of demands” given by the Sextet to Iran during the late February Almaty meeting could lay the foundation for “consistent progress” in the nuclear talks, Morgulov said.

The parties held expert-level nuclear talks in Istanbul in late March to discuss a revised proposal that asks Iran to suspend its enrichment of uranium and disable the underground Fordow facility in exchange for limited sanction relief.

The next round of nuclear talks is scheduled for April 5-6 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Russia believes a long-term settlement towards the Iranian nuclear issue should be based on the recognition of Iran’s “unconditional right to develop its civilian nuclear program,” Morgulov said.

Meanwhile, Russia highly values close dialogue with China over the Iranian nuclear program, as the two countries shared common positions in many aspects, he added.

Russia, together with China, believe the use of unilateral sanctions and political pressure on Iran only lead to a dead end, Morgulov said, adding that such moves were counterproductive and undermined diplomatic efforts in solving the problem.