Russian President Vladimir Putin says he supports a proposal by the U.N. nuclear agency for the international community to hold off sanctions on Iran if the Tehran government suspends sensitive nuclear activities.
President Putin said Thursday in Moscow that the plan could help remove suspicions in the international community that Iran intends to create nuclear weapons.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, has suggested that Iran halt its controversial uranium enrichment program while the West delays implementing United Nations-endorsed sanctions.
In Paris, meanwhile, the office of French President Jacques Chirac issued a statement saying France cannot accept the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.
President Chirac retracted a statement from an interview Monday in which he was quoted as saying Iran's possession of a nuclear weapon would not be "very dangerous."
Mr. Chirac said Tuesday that he believed he was speaking off the record.
Russia is a trading partner of Iran. Its security council secretary visited Tehran earlier this week.
The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution in December imposing limited sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.
Iran denies that its uranium enrichment program is aimed at building nuclear weapons.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.