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Iran's Top Nuclear Negotiator Says Tehran May Lessen Cooperation With IAEA


Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, says Tehran will review its relations with the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unless Russia is successful in paring back a European draft resolution calling for sanctions against Iran.

Iran's nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, made the threat of reduced cooperation with the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog not long after arriving in Moscow for talks on Iran's nuclear policies.

A European resolution, drafted by the U.N. Security Council's three E.U. members, proposes sanctions against Iran for defying an August 31 deadline to stop enriching uranium.

Russia has proposed major changes to the draft resolution, including removing all references to Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant. Moscow is helping to build the plant.

If passed, the resolution calls on nations to suspend the sale and supply of equipment, technology and financing that in any way contributes to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met with Laranjani Friday, said all aspects of Iran's program are being considered.

He said the sides were ready to discuss the situation concerning the Iranian nuclear program, and he said Russia was persistent in demanding that a diplomatic way needs to be found in order to settle the current agreement. He said the talks will show how far the two sides can go forward on this subject.

Laranjani seemed hopeful that a workable version of the resolution was possible.

He said despite previous agreements, Iran was looking to the future and relying on its relations with Russia to find a resolution.

In October Iran stepped up work to enrich uranium by activating a second set of centrifuges at its Natanz plant. Feeding gas into centrifuges can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or, ultimately, atomic weapons.

The U.S. and its European allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.