Russia rejects British and French proposals on Iran

Russia's U.N. ambassador on Friday rejected proposals that would have the U.N. Security Council demand a quick progress report on Iran's suspect nuclear program, saying half in jest that fast action could lead to the bombing of Iran by June.

Andrey Denisov spoke just before a U.N. Security Council meeting where diplomats planned to consider a revised list of British, French and American proposals for a statement on Iran. The latest draft proposals, obtained by The Associated Press, retain many elements that Russia and China have opposed.

A key sticking point for Russia is a proposal asking Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to deliver a progress report in two weeks on Iran's progress toward clearing up suspicions about its nuclear program. They say two weeks is far too soon.

"Let's just imagine that we adopt it and today we issued that statement then what happens after two weeks?" Denisov said in an interview. "In such a pace we'll start bombing in June."

Denisov chuckled after he made the remark, but it reflected Russia's fears that the international community has not yet decided how to respond if Iran continues to resist demands that it make explicitly clear it is not seeking nuclear arms.

To address that concern, senior officials from six key countries involved in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program will convene Monday to discuss both initial council action and the larger strategy toward Iran. The officials from Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany will talk about both the proposals circulated Friday and overall strategy, reports AP.


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