|Iran mulling over Russia’s revised ‘step-by-step’ plan: envoy||
TEHRAN - The Iranian ambassador to Moscow has said that the Russian proposal for a “step-by-step” plan toward Iran’s nuclear program has undergone a number of revisions.
On July 13, 2011, Russia made a proposal for a step-by-step approach, according to which Iran could address questions about its nuclear program and be rewarded with a gradual easing of sanctions.
Ambassador Reza Sajjadi, in an interview with the Fars News Agency published on Saturday, said, “After the Russians presented the plan, we studied it for two months. Mr. Ali Baqeri, the deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, during his trip to Moscow (in early November 2011) expressed the country’s views in this regard. The Russians, after about three weeks, presented their revised initiative to Iran through the Russian Embassy in Tehran. The relevant authority is now deliberating on the revised plan.”
“The difference between this initiative and the proposals of the 5+1 (group) (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) is that first of all, the 5+1, in contravention of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, does not recognize our legitimate rights in regard to nuclear activities, and, on the other hand, has been calling for all our peaceful nuclear activities to be halted. But the step-by-step plan recognizes Iran’s inalienable right to acquire peaceful nuclear energy,” he stated.
Sajjadi added, “Previously, we took some steps and confidence-building measures to which the West has not given any positive response. The basis of the plan of (Russian Foreign Minister Sergei) Lavrov is logical, but in order for an agreement to be reached and (the plan) to be accepted by us, many consultations are required.”
Sanctions on Iran’s central bank illegal
In reply to a question about the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law a defense funding bill that imposes sanctions on financial institutions dealing with the Central Bank of Iran on December 31, 2011, Sajjadi said that Obama’s move was “illegal” and “unilateral.”
“The Russians had earlier announced that they do not approve of sanctions that go beyond resolutions and do not tolerate them. What Obama did caused a split between the members of the United Nations Security Council and undermined the UN,” he stated.
Sajjadi added, “The move is rejected, and the Russians have clearly announced that they will not agree to such sanctions and that Iran’s nuclear issue can only be resolved through dialogue.”
Russia has not asked to inspect U.S. drone
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian ambassador dismissed news reports claiming that Russian officials have asked for permission to inspect the U.S. spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian armed forces and said, “We have not received any request from the Russians to inspect the drone.”
He also said that the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council did not discuss the issue of the drone with Russian officials during his trip to Moscow in early December 2011.
SNSC Secretary Saeed Jalili and Russian officials only exchanged views on regional issues, Sajjadi stated.
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