Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Source: Press TV
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov challenges US claims against Iran's nuclear activities, stressing there is “no proof” that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program.
“We don't have any proof that Iran has taken a political decision to produce a bomb,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Bloomberg news agency on Thursday.
“And whatever information the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has does not support the conclusion that Iran already is making a bomb,” he further explained.
“IAEA has access to all sites which Iran legally must show to the inspectors,” the top Russian diplomat emphasized.
Lavrov called on the Islamic Republic to implement the additional protocol to the safeguards agreement with the IAEA which is ordinarily a voluntary measure.
“Apart from its rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has quite important obligations, obligations related to the need to ensure exclusively peaceful nature of nuclear program, and there are some questions and the international community wants to clarify,” he stated.
He also stressed the importance of implementing the IAEA and the UN Security Council resolutions “which are aimed exactly at this … Iran must see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Lavrov criticized the international community and particularly the US for imposing new unilateral sanctions on Iran, saying, “It's not a very decent approach to negotiating a collective position. It would in fact be aimed at suffocating the Iranian economy.”
The Russian foreign minister reiterated that sanctions and threats against Iran would yield no fruits and urged the P5+1 -- Russia, China, France, Britain, the US plus Germany -- not to forget about the need to “come back to the negotiating table.”
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) held two rounds of multifaceted talks in Geneva in December 2010 and in the Turkish city of Istanbul last January.
Lavrov on Wednesday supported Iran's "inalienable" right to develop its own peaceful nuclear program, saying, “Iran is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has inalienable rights to develop nuclear energy under the International Atomic Energy Agency control.”
He called for the continuation of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 “to alleviate concerns about the nature of Iran's nuclear program,” and said, “This should be done only through negotiations.”
Iran has repeatedly and vehemently rejected unverified Western allegations that it is pursuing a military nuclear program, insisting that as a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the NPT, it has every right to engage in nuclear activities for all peaceful purposes.
The IAEA has been regularly conducting rigorous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence of Iran's diversion from a civilian nuclear program.