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04:35 GMT +3 hours20 December 2014
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Russia Seeks Compromise on Iran Sanctions

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Russia will push for talks to scrap unilateral sanctions against Iran if it allows the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to control Iranian nuclear activity, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday.

Russia will push for talks to scrap unilateral sanctions against Iran if it allows the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to control Iranian nuclear activity, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday.

“[The lifting of Iranian sanctions] can be used in talks…if we reach this agreement, the international community may cancel the sanctions, including unilateral ones,” Ryabkov told a press conference.

Ryabkov  said Russia would discuss the issue with the six international mediators on the controversial Iranian nuclear program.

The Iran Six, which is made up of Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany, has been trying to convince Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program and to alleviate concerns about its nuclear ambitions since 2003.

In late February, UN nuclear inspectors were in Iran to visit an alleged explosives testing facility at Parchin, southeast of Tehran, however, they claim they could not access the key Iranian military site. Iran’s IAEA envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh said that the nuclear inspectors chose not to visit Parchin.

Ryabkov also expressed hope that Russian-Iranian relations would remain friendly after Russian presidential elections secured a landslide victory for Vladimir Putin.

“We have controversy, relating to the fact that Russia shares the international community’s concerns about some aspects of the Iranian nuclear program…but we will do everything to solve them without damaging Russian-Iranian relations.” Ryabkov said.

Iran is already the subject of a wide range of international sanctions because the West, led by the United States, accuses Tehran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program. However, the Islamic Republic insists its nuclear power needs are for civilian purposes only.