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Russia again urges Iran to be open with IAEA


VIENNA, March 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has reiterated its appeal to Iran that it disclose the details of its controversial nuclear program to the UN's nuclear watchdog as soon as possible to avoid the nuclear file's referral to the UN Security Council.

"We once again call on Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] on the basis of its board's resolution," Russia's chief IAEA delegate Grigory Berdennikov said at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, where the organization has gathered for a five-day session.

Berdennikov's statement came after a report delivered by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei at the session. A decision is expected to be reached in Vienna on Iran's referral to the UN Security Council, a move that could result in economic sanctions against the energy-rich Islamic Republic.

Berdennikov quoted ElBaradei's report as saying that Tehran had decided to give up all its voluntarily assumed and legally unbinding obligations, including the moratorium on nuclear research. ElBaradei also said that Iran had resumed uranium enrichment at its nuclear facility in Natanz, about 1,700 kilometers from the Israeli border, on February 11.

Berdennikov urged Iran to be more transparent about its nuclear program, and reveal the details of its nuclear ambitions, if it wanted the case to remain within the IAEA. He also said that Russia's uranium enrichment proposal remained on the table.

Russia proposed earlier to enrich uranium for Iran on its territory as a potential resolution of the crisis surrounding the Islamic Republic, which many in the West suspect of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program. However, Russia warned that the proposal would only be valid if Iran agreed to give up nuclear research completely while Iran has insisted that its atomic research program is purely peaceful.

In February, the IAEA board adopted a resolution that recommended informing the UN Security Council about the steps Iran should take to remedy the situation.

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