MOSCOW, February 16 (RIA Novosti) - At a roundtable in the Russian lower house of parliament Thursday, Iran's ambassador in Moscow reiterated that Tehran had no plans to build nuclear weapons.
Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the State Duma's international affairs committee, said Gholamreza Ansari had answered the questions of principal concern to Russia, and reiterated that the Islamic Republic was prepared to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog.
"Iran understands that the situation is very serious, and is ready to continue political dialogue, as well as an expert-level dialogue in search of solutions to the dispute," the legislator said.
Ansari said an Iranian delegation was making thorough preparations for upcoming talks in Moscow, and that it would have the authority to conduct talks on Russia's proposal to set up a joint venture enrich uranium on Russian territory for nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic.
Originally, the talks were to take place February 16, but were postponed by Tehran until February 20. The Russian initiative is seen as a compromise in the international dispute over Iran's plans to enrich uranium, which can be used to produce nuclear weapons.
Tehran, which has repeatedly denied western accusations over its nuclear plans and insisted on its right to develop peaceful nuclear technology, recently reopened its nuclear research centers, has demanded amendments to the Russian uranium enrichment proposal.
Kosachev said possible changes to the proposal would be discussed at talks and consultations, rather than brought up for public debate.
He noted that Tehran had denounced terrorism, including the most notorious terrorist organization, Al-Qaeda.
Kosachev said Iran regarded Russia as a friendly country and its partner in the current standoff, and hoped the political process would continue.
"We expect talks on February 20 to yield results," he said.
However, the Duma member said the ambassador's explanations of the Iranian president's doubting the Holocaust and suggesting moving Israel to Europe late last year had not alleviated Russia's concerns.
"Such statements are not conducive to Iran's positions in the world and its international image. We cannot approve of them," Kosachev said.
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This war would most probably not be precipitated not by direct actions of the Russian or Ukrainian governments. The more likely cause is the clash of rival armed volunteer groups on the streets of eastern Ukraine, which would lead to the progressive involvement of armed forces on either side.