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MOSCOW, December 10, 4:40 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov leaves for Teheran Tuesday to hold talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.
It is not ruled out that he will be received by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The main program has been scheduled for Thursday.
Agreement between Iran and the Sextet of negotiating countries - five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany - that was reached in Geneva two weeks ago will obviously become a central issue at Lavrov’s discussions with Iranian officials.
The document slated for a period of six months envisions clear-cut steps on the part of Teheran towards stopping enrichment of uranium in excess of 5% and destroying of the stocks of nuclear materials enriched to 20%.
Also, Iran pledged to stay away from adding new centrifuges or from any other steps related to the construction of a heavy water reactor in Arak. Officials in Moscow do not have any doubts that the Iranian side will cooperate with the IAEA conscientiously.
Sergei Lavrov said in connection with the Geneva accords that they were called upon to build trust thus enabling partners from the U.S. and the EU to ease up the sanctions adopted outside the UN format. He indicated that the six months covered by the agreement would be devoted to intensive talks that aimed to reach a final decision on the parameters of Iran’s peaceful nuclear activity.
This concerns in the first place the production of fuel for nuclear power plants, research reactors, and the reactors producing isotopes for healthcare and other humanitarian purposes.
If all the parties to the negotiations manage “to maintain Geneva’s constructive spirit” and arrive at final agreements, this will wield encouraging influence on the situation in the Middle East and will help overcome “the dangerous tendency towards the use of force that showed up in recent years.”
Iranian officials and Lavrov will also look at the prospects for convening a new international conference on Syria. Moscow is a persistent proponent of Iran’s participation in the Geneva-2 conference, since it believes Iran has considerable influence on the processes unfolding at present. The Americans have doubts on the issue.
“Contacts on the problem will continue and we hope we’ll get at a common denominator in the final run,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Itar-Tass. “But much will depend on Teheran, on the Iranian government’s readiness to take part.”
It is noteworthy in this context that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to speak at Congressional hearings on the Iranian problem Tuesday. The contents of what he will say will show the degree to which the gaps in the sides’ approaches to one or another aspect of the problem have been bridged.
Sergei Lavrov and Iranian officials will naturally pay attention to the current status of Russian-Iranian trade and cooperation in defense-related technologies.
“Russian-Iranian relations are not influenced by momentary political considerations,” an official at the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said. Iran is a large trade partner among the Middle East nations and it has a capacious market for Russian machines, equipment, vehicles, and metal produce.
Iranian exports to Russia mostly consist of foodstuffs and agricultural commodities.
Russian and Iranian ministers will also discuss counteraction to drug trafficking from the territory of Afghanistan and preparations for the Caspian summit, due to be held in the fall of 2014 in Russia’s southern city of Astrakhan.