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Lavrov in Tehran to discuss Geneva accords

December 11, 2013, 4:18 UTC+3 TEHRAN
The agreement reached between Iran and the Sextet n Geneva will be one of the central subjects of discussion
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© ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderzhkin

TEHRAN, December 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has arrived here on a working visit to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif. The President of the Islamic Republic, Hassan Rouhani is expected to receive the Russian minister.

The agreement reached between Iran and the Sextet (five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and Germany) in Geneva at the end of November will be undoubtedly one of the central subjects of discussion. Designed for six months, the document presupposes Tehran's clear-cut steps to discontinue the enrichment of uranium above 5 percent and to eliminate the stocks of nuclear materials enriched up to 20 percent. Iran undertook not to add new centrifuges and take no steps connected with building a heavy-water reactor at Arak. Moscow has no doubts that the Iranian side will cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in good faith.

According to Lavrov, the accords are intended to build confidence, which would enable the US and European Union partners to slacken sanctions applied outside the UN Security Council framework. The six months, the Minister emphasized earlier, would be dedicated to a continuation of intensive talks with a view to reaching a final decision on the parameters of the IRI's peaceful nuclear activities. This applies primarily to the production of fuel for nuclear power stations, research reactors and those which produce isotopes for medical and other humanitarian purposes.

Russian Foreign Ministry analysts point out that if all negotiators "maintain the constructive spirit of Geneva" and reach final agreements that would have a favorable effect on the situation in the Middle East and help overcome the "dangerous trends of recent years towards coercive methods".

In this context, prospects for the convocation of an international conference on Syria will be also touched upon during Lavrov's meetings in Tehran. Moscow consistently comes out in favor of Iran's participation in the Geneva-2 as a country wielding considerable influence on the evolving processes. The Americans still have doubts about the issue. Mikhail Bogdanov, Special Representative of Russia's President and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, pointed out in an Itar-Tass interview, "Contacts to this effect will be continued. We expect to arrive at a common denominator in this respect". However, he added, "Much depend on Tehran as well — to which extent it is ready to participate (in Geneva-2)".

The talks with the Iranian side will also deal with the development of trade-and-economic and technical military cooperation between Russia and the IRI, the relations between which, as Russia's Foreign Ministry points out, "are not susceptible to political situation".

Iran is Russia's big trading partner in the Near and Middle East, and has a capacious market for the sale of Russian machinery, equipment, transport means, and metalware. Food and agricultural commodities are Russia's staple commodities in import from the IRI.

The Russian and Iranian Foreign ministers also plan to discuss counteraction to the trafficking of narcotics from Afghan territory and preparations for a Caspian summit which is due to be held in autumn 2014 in Astrakhan.

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