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    Italian, Russian foreign ministers discuss Iranian nuclear issue

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    ROME, February 7 (RIA Novosti, Dmitri Panovkin) - Iran's controversial nuclear energy plans were discussed during a meeting between the Russian and Italian foreign ministers in Rome Tuesday.

    After talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini told journalists: "The Iranian issue is of great concern both to our government and to our people."

    Assurance has to be obtained through diplomatic means that Teheran will adhere to the agreement on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, he said.

    Tehran recently caused widespread international concern with an announcement that it had abandoned its voluntary two-year moratorium on uranium enrichment research.

    Some countries, led by the U.S., suspect Tehran of pursuing a secret weapons program. However, Russia has consistently supported the Islamic Republic's plans to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and has offered to enrich uranium for the program on its own territory. This offer has been seen as a compromise in the standoff between the Islamic Republic and the West.

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