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Iran not seeking to build nuclear weapons: Putin

Monday, June 2, 2008

Iran is not trying to acquire nuclear weapons but Tehran should avoid "irritating" its neighbours, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Saturday in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde.

Putin, who was in Paris for two days of meetings with President Nicolas Sarkozy and other French leaders, said there was no indication Iran was building its own nuclear arsenal.

But he admitted that Iran's compliance with investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was still a "point to be resolved."

Asked if Iran was trying to acquire nuclear weapons, Putin replied: "I don't believe so. Nothing indicates it."

"The Iranians are a proud people," he went on. "They want to enjoy their independence and exercise their legitimate right to civil nuclear power.

"I am serious. On a legal level, Iran has infringed nothing at the moment. They have the same right to enrichment (of uranium.) The paperwork says so. Iran is accused of not displaying all its programmes to the IAEA. This point remains to be resolved...."

Putin stressed that Russia was opposed to Iran achieving a nuclear-power status.

Full article here.

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