Russia urges ‘patience’ on nuclear crisis in Iran

MOSCOW: World powers should show patience in the Iranian nuclear crisis, a top Russian foreign ministry official said today, in the latest sign of oscow’s unwillingness to give Tehran ultimatums.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, speaking in a newspaper interview, hailed a UN atomic agency-brokered plan for Iranian uranium to be further enriched abroad in states including Russia as a way to “cool down emotions”.

“We should not give the impression that everything has stayed as it was,” he told the Vremya Novostei daily. “On the contrary, we need to give the Iranians positive stimuli.” “And will it be possible to do this if it is presumed that the Iranians are wasting time?” Ryabkov refused to be drawn on whether Russia has a deadline for Iran to answer the remaining questions on its nuclear drive. Some Western powers have suggested Tehran has until December.

“Everyone must demonstrate maximum patience and concentrate on the dynamics that have built up thanks to the efforts of the six” world powers seeking to resolve the uranium nuclear crisis and Iran itself, he said. The United States has in recent weeks been seeking a concrete commitment from Moscow to tough sanctions against Iran should the current diplomacy fail, but Russia has yet to make such a statement. On a visit to Moscow earlier this month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to win a ringing endorsement from her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov of Washington’s threats of tough action.

Russia, for long seen as a key player in the nuclear crisis due to its close economic and diplomatic relations with Tehran, would under the UN plan proposed this month take Iranian uranium for further enrichment. Iran has promised to give its answer to the plan in a few days.

Ryabkov said that in October alone “concrete and potentially workable” solutions had been found. But he warned it was possible that the process would now develop “not so intensively”.