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    The Iran nuclear issue must be solved by diplomatic means, the secretary of the Russian Security Council said Sunday.

    LESNIYE DALI, (Moscow Region), March 18 (RIA Novosti) - The Iran nuclear issue must be solved by diplomatic means, the secretary of the Russian Security Council said Sunday.

    Since Iran resumed uranium enrichment in January 2006, the country has been the focus of international concerns, as some Western countries, particularly the United States, suspect Tehran is pursuing a covert weapons program. But Tehran has consistently claimed it needs nuclear development for civilian power generation.

    "Iran and the international community must take a pause and find a solution through negotiations and come to a common conclusion," Igor Ivanov told a session of the Russian Council for Foreign and Defense Policy.

    According to Ivanov, Iran should take a pause with regard for its uranium enrichment while the UN Security Council must also take a pause in relation to its resolution on Iran.

    "All the parties need to stop and sit down to a table of negotiations at the level of experts," Ivanov said.

    The Islamic Republic, already under limited international sanctions, is facing tougher penalties from the UN Security Council over its refusal to halt the uranium enrichment.

    A new draft resolution of the 15-nation UN Security Council on Iran, issued Thursday, stipulates sanctions against 10 Iranian companies and three companies of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite military organization in the country.

    The draft resolution has been prepared by the Iran-Six, comprising Germany and the five permanent Security Council members - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

    Ivanov said the international community does not have a biased attitude towards Iran.

    "If the Iranian leadership states that it has no military plans and its plans are only civilian, then Iran should not have any concerns," Ivanov said.

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