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Russia Opposes Referring Iran to Security Council on Nuclear Issue

Russia says it agrees with the United States that Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons, but Moscow sees no reason to refer Tehran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the comment Saturday, after talks in Moscow with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Mr. Lavrov said the issue should be handled within the International Atomic Energy Agency. But Secretary Rice insisted that the Security Council option remains open if Iran fails to agree to negotiations on its nuclear program.

Iran denies U.S. and European accusations that it is secretly trying to develop atomic weapons.

Secretary Rice later met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who praised the success of her trip through five Asian countries. She stops in Britain before returning home.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.