Russian Foreign Minister arrives in Tehran

Russian Foreign Minister arrives in Tehran

PanARMENIAN.Net - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Tehran for talks on a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six international mediators, as well as on a Syria peace conference, the Voice of Russia reports.

The visit comes after Tehran signed an interim 6-month agreement in late November where it pledged to scrap uranium enrichment over 5 percent and destroy its stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium. The deal has also prohibited the Islamic republic to put new centrifuges on line and frozen all work on its heavy water reactor in Arak.

Moscow said it had faith in Iran’s commitment to cooperate with the international nuclear watchdog IAEA.

During his two-day visit, Lavrov is expected to discuss the outlooks for a Syria peace conference with the country’s senior authorities. The Kremlin has long been seeking to put Iran, as a country of influence in the region, at the negotiating table in Geneva.

Discussion will also cover a bunch of bilateral issues, including cooperation in such sectors as trade, economy and military technologies, as well as Afghan drug trafficking and the upcoming Caspian summit that Russia is going to host in autumn 2014.

Lavrov was expected to hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign ministry said.

Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told reporters that the visit was in line with the close cooperation between Tehran and Moscow and that it would include “bilateral, regional and international issues.”

Iran's nuclear program

Iran's leaders have worked to pursue nuclear energy technology since the 1950s, spurred by the launch of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program. It made steady progress, with Western help, through the early 1970s. But concern over Iranian intentions followed by the upheaval of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 effectively ended outside assistance. Iran was known to be reviving its civilian nuclear programs during the 1990s, but revelations in 2002 and 2003 of clandestine research into fuel enrichment and conversion raised international concern that Iran's ambitions had metastasized beyond peaceful intent. Although Iran has consistently denied allegations it seeks to develop a bomb, the September 2009 revelation of a second uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom -constructed under the radar of international inspectors - deepened suspicion surrounding Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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