Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed hope for a negotiated solution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

Mr. Putin made the statement after meeting with a top Iranian envoy in Moscow Thursday.

Earlier, the envoy, Ali Akbar Velayati, met with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who urged Iran to show goodwill in resolving the dispute.

Velayati said Tehran wants to resolve the standoff through negotiations.

Mr. Putin said last week that Moscow supports a proposal from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency that calls for holding off on U.N. sanctions if Iran suspends enriching uranium.

In December, Russia joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in imposing sanctions on Iran after it failed to meet a U.N. deadline to halt the sensitive nuclear work.

The U.S. and other Western powers accuse Iran of trying to build an atomic weapon, but Iran denies the claim, saying its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.