Russia censures Iran over uranium enrichment program
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has come out with a statement condemning Iran for ignoring UN Security Council resolution 1929 demanding the cessation of uranium enrichment activities at a facility near the city of Koms.
The statement also calls on all sides to resume talks and says that mutual respect and negotiations were the only way to deal with the Iranian uranium enrichment program. The situation over Iran intensified at the end of last year, when the IAEA published its report that said that Iran had been working on nuclear weapons.
This was followed by the EU announcing its plans to introduce an oil embargo against Iran. After Iran officially confirmed that it was opening an underground uranium enrichment facility, the EU rescheduled its meeting on the embargo. It was originally set to take place on January 30 but is now slated for January 23.
Russia 'regrets' reported Iran nuclear activity in Qom facility
Moscow regrets Tehran's decision to enrich uranium near the city of Qom, Itar-Tass state-run news agency quoted a foreign ministry official as saying on Tuesday.
"Moscow has met reports on the start of uranium enrichment at an Iranian plant near Qom with regret and concern," the agency quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying.
"We should recognize that Iran is continuing to ignore the demands of the international community that it respond to their concerns regarding its nuclear program," the official was quoted as saying.
“Hopefully, Iran will listen to our opinion about the need for further close cooperation with the Agency and the soonest beginning of serious negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program with the Sextet without preconditions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, confirmed on Monday that Iran has started enriching uranium up to 20 percent at an underground site at Fordo, near the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom, and said all atomic material there was under its surveillance.
The United States said on Monday that if Iran is enriching uranium to 20 percent at an underground facility at Fordo, this would be a "further escalation" of its pattern of violating its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.
"The fact that the IAEA has made clear that they are enriching to a level that is inappropriate at Fordow is obviously a problem," a State Department spokeswoman told reporters.
Nuland said the Vienna-based IAEA's assessment, previously reported by diplomats in Vienna, did not come as a surprise to the U.S.
"If they are enriching at Fordow to 20 percent, this is a further escalation of their ongoing violations with regard to their nuclear obligations," Nuland said, referring to a series of UN Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to halt its enrichment-related activities.