Russia hails US offer of direct talks with Iran

February 12th, 2009 - 12:08 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaMoscow, Feb 11 (DPA) Russia Wednesday hailed US President Barack Obama’s “fresh” approach on Iran, in the latest sign of a thaw in US-Russian ties.
“We are paying particular attention to the declared intention of the new (US) administration to begin a direct dialogue with Iran,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying at a press conference with EU officials.

The US and many western European countries suspect Tehran’s civilian nuclear energy programme of serving as cover for ambitions to build atomic weapons.

Russia, which is helping to build Iran’s first nuclear reactor at Bushehr, said last week the plant would be switched on by the end of this year.

Relations between Moscow and Washington fell to Cold War lows over security differences under the presidency of George W. Bush, but officials in Moscow have voiced hope for improved ties with Obama’s administration.

“We expect that the US, considering the fresh approach that seems to be noticeable in regard to Iran, will be able to make a more effective contribution than has been true in the past,” Lavrov said.

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