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June 18, 2013 8:57 am

Russian FM: Iran Willing to Halt Enrichment of 20% Uranium if Sanctions Eased

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo: wiki commons.

Iran is willing to halt its enrichment of 20% uranium if the West will ease sanctions,  Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

“For the first time in many years, there are encouraging signs in the process of settlement of the situation with the Iranian nuclear program,” he said.

Lavrov made the comments in an interview posted to the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

He added: “The Iranians have confirmed the main thing — a readiness to agree on a suspension of uranium enrichment to 20 percent.”

Uranium enriched beyond 20% can be used in developing nuclear bombs. A recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said there is evidence that Iran has enriched uranium up to 27 percent.

Lavrov’s announcement follows the recent election of new Iranian President, Hassan Rohani, who signaled a more moderate position on the country’s nuclear stance Monday, telling reporters that he wants to renew stalled nuclear talks with the West.

Rohani said he plans to hold direct dialogue with each of the six world powers (the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) separately, reports said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly expressed skepticism over the notion that Rohani’s election will actually bring a substantive change in Iranian nuclear policy.

“Regarding the results of the elections in Iran, let us not delude ourselves,” he said Sunday, adding that “The international community must not become caught up in wishes and be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program.”

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