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Iranian President Ahmadinejad
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Germany: Russia may shun Iran talks

Berlin's foreign minister says Moscow angered over US criticism of its invasion of Georgia, therefore may absent itself from six-nation talks on Tehran's nuclear program

Germany's foreign minister said Wednesday that recent tensions between Washington and Moscow could mean Russia will not take part in six-nation talks on Iran's nuclear program for the "medium term."


The group includes Germany and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – and was to have met Thursday in New York.


But Russia, angered by Washington's criticism of its invasion of Georgia, said Tuesday that it would not take part in the discussions this week.


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggested, however, that he believed Russia might also stay away from the talks for longer.


"That's how it will stay, that in the medium term the Russians will decline to take part in the (six-nation) talks on Iran," Steinmeier told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.


Steinmeier did not give more details, but said the situation had gone in the "wrong direction" and hoped it could be remedied. "I hope that we can return to the talks that we need," he said.


The European Union warned Wednesday that Iran is moving closer to the point of being able to arm a warhead with a nuclear core even if it insists its atomic activities are peaceful.


The EU also asserted that Iran appeared to have had a past nuclear arms program despite denials from Tehran. Iran insists its nuclear activities are geared only toward generating power.


The EU's comments were prepared for the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35 board members, as the Vienna-based agency's board turned its attention Wednesday to Iran's nuclear defiance. The group is concerned about Tehran's refusal to freeze uranium enrichment, despite sets of three UN Security Council sanctions.


פרסום ראשון: 09.24.08, 19:53
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