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    Sergei Lavrov

    Russia concerned over Iran missile launches, calls for restraint

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    Russia is concerned over Iran's missile launches against the backdrop of the Islamic Republic's unresolved nuclear issues, but Moscow is calling for restraint, the Russian foreign minister said Monday.

    UNITED NATIONS, September 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is concerned over Iran's missile launches against the backdrop of the Islamic Republic's unresolved nuclear issues, but Moscow is calling for restraint, the Russian foreign minister said Monday.

    "This is not illegal under any international agreements, but of course when missile launches are accompanied by an unresolved situation around Iran's nuclear program, this concerns us," Sergei Lavrov said after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.

    "I am convinced that restraint should be shown," he said.

    Iran's national media said Monday the country has test launched the longest-range missile in its arsenal, a Sajjil surface-to-surface missile with a range of up to 2,000-2,500 kilometers, capable of striking Israel and parts of Europe.

    The Islamic Republic started on Sunday large-scale missile drills amid growing friction with Western powers over Iran's controversial nuclear program, and has already conducted night test-launches of the Shahab class short- and medium range ballistic missiles with multiple warheads.

    The third stage of the Great Prophet IV exercises involved the launch of Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 missiles with ranges of 350 km (217 miles) and 750 km (466 miles), and 2,100 km (1,300 miles), respectively.

    During the first stage, Iran successfully tested short-range ground-to-ground Fateh-110, Tondar-69, and Zelzal-type missiles.

    Tehran revealed last week that it was building a second uranium enrichment plant.

    Lavrov also called on Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency to reach a settlement on the country's nuclear program prior to the October 1 Iran Six meeting.

    "This meeting is acquiring special significance with the emergence of information that a second plant producing low-enriched uranium is being built in Iran," he said.

    "In this context we have made clear our position and are calling for maximum cooperation to be displayed to allow the IAEA to clear up issues with the new facility," Lavrov said.

    Iran is under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment that could be used both for electricity generation and weapons production.

    Iran's underground uranium enrichment center in Natanz, subject to UN inspections, has over 8,300 centrifuges and is expanding rapidly. Iranian authorities have repeatedly said the country needs 50,000 centrifuges to supply its future nuclear power plants with fuel.

     

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