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Iran Says Oil Exports Not Bargaining Tool in Nuclear Dispute


Iran says it will remain a reliable energy supplier to Asia, and says it will not use its oil exports as a bargaining tool in its nuclear standoff with the West.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki's made the comments Sunday to an energy conference in Tehran. He called regional cooperation on energy a high Iranian priority.

Separately, Iran's Foreign Ministry said Tehran is no longer considering a proposal to enrich uranium in Russia. Moscow's offer was aimed at easing international concerns that Iran could use the process to develop an atomic bomb.

A key Russian lawmaker warned that Iran is hurting its case before the United Nations Security Council. The Interfax news agency quotes Konstantin Kosachev as saying the Iranian decision rejecting the Russian plan destroys the "last and real possibility of a compromise."

The International Atomic Energy Agency last week sent its report on Iran's nuclear activities to the Security Council, saying it could not determine if Tehran was enriching uranium for military purposes.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon. Iran has repeatedly denied the charge and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

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