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WASHINGTON, April 12 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was hopeful that the Sextet meeting on Iran to be held in Istanbul will prove successful.
“We discussed the Iranian nuclear issue [at the G8 ministerial meeting in Washington] and wished success to Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who has left to Istanbul for a long-awaited meeting with Iranian representatives,” Lavrov said on Wednesday, April 11.
“There is an understanding that it is necessary to resolve all issues regarding the Iranian nuclear programme and use the art of diplomacy in order to approve forms and stages of further actions,” he said.
He stressed that “the Iranian nuclear problem can be settled only gradually”.
Lavrov believes that there can be no military solution in Iran.
“Preventive strikes are prohibited by the U.N. Charter. There can be no military solution,” Lavrov said earlier.
“When we hear that all options are considered, we can accept only those that are allowed by international law,” he said.
“Second, we think it is fundamentally important to keep and increase the presence of IAEA experts and observers in Iran. They are working now at all known nuclear facilities in Iran and they have not found any forbidden activities. There are only several questions that concern the past period of the Iranian nuclear programme and that need to be clarified,” Lavrov said.
“We strongly support the Agency’s work,” he added.
“Iran has lately intensified its contacts with the Agency, including in response to Russian calls,” the minister said. “There are assurances from the Iranian side that it will discuss existing questions substantively.”
“We believe that it is necessary to resume the talks between the Sextet and Iran,” Lavrov said.
He believes that there should be a stage-by-stage a settlement plan for Iran and sanctions should be lifted gradually in response to Tehran’s steps.
Unilateral sanctions against Iran are unacceptable, but Tehran should clarify issues concerning its nuclear programme to the IAEA, Lavrov said earlier.
At the same time, he stressed that Tehran should comply with the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors and the U.N. Security Council. “Iran has a right to enrich uranium for fuel production for nuclear power plants under the NPT. But Tehran also carried out programmes that were not reported, and the IAEA got suspicious if the Iranian nuclear programme had no military component,” Lavrov said.