Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Iranian counterpart on Thursday that Moscow supports Tehran's atomic program as long as it is "peaceful."
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"We have always supported the right of the Iranian people to modern technologies, including the peaceful use of atomic energy," he told Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of a regional security summit in Beijing.
"But I want to emphasize that it is peaceful that we are talking about. You know our position."
The West believes Iran is trying to develop an atomic bomb under cover of a civilian program but Tehran insists its intentions are purely peaceful, and the situation has brought about a shaky standoff.
The talks between the two leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit - the first since Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term - come as Russia prepares to host the latest round of global talks on Iran.
The June 18 and 19 meeting between world powers and Iranian negotiators will try to find a diplomatic solution to the current standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.
Putin's comments also come after leaders of the SCO's member states issued a statement Thursday opposing any use of force in Iran, saying it could threaten global security.