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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) and Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing in Beijing on May 16 (epa)
May 16, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today said Russia and China will not support the use of force against Iran over its nuclear program.
Lavrov made his remarks in Beijing after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing. He said Moscow and Beijing won't vote for any resolution that "is an excuse for the use of force" against Iran. He said both sides advocate dialogue to resolve the dispute.
"Neither Russia nor China, as my colleague [Li] and I confirmed today, will be able to support the language of a possible UN Security Council resolution which could be later used as a pretext for coercive action, especially the use of force," Lavrov said.
Earlier, China said it supports Europe's initiative to resolve the standoff. The statement came after the European Union said it was ready to offer Iran sophisticated civilian nuclear technology if it agreed to halt all uranium enrichment on its soil.
But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi today reiterated it was not interested in the offer.
The EU and the United States, despite Tehran's denials, suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.
(ITAR-TASS, AFP, AP, Reuters)
PRESIDENT TO PRESIDENT: On May 8, the Iranian government announced that President Mahmud Ahmadinejad had sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush. The letter was the first direct communication between leaders of the two countries since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. RFE/RL has posted the English version of Ahmadinejad's letter that was posted on the Iranian president's website.
"The people will scrutinize our presidencies," AHMADINEJAD wrote. "Did we manage to bring peace, security, and prosperity to our people or insecurity and unemployment? Did we intend to establish justice, or just support special-interest groups and -- by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship -- make a few people rich and powerful, -- thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty for [that of those few]? Did we bring the world peace and security or did we raise the specter of intimidation and threats?"...(more)
For an archive of RFE/RL's coverage of Iran, click here.
THE COMPLETE PICTURE: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.
CHRONOLOGY An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.