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Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (epa) October 21, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow opposes any attempt to use the UN Security Council to punish Iran for its disputed nuclear program.


He also said Moscow is against using the nuclear issue as a pretext to discuss regime change in Tehran. Lavrov made the comments in an interview with the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.


Lavrov said Moscow is ready to discuss ways to persuade Iran into accepting broader international oversight.


(AP, Reuters, AFP)

Talking Technical

A control panel at the Bushehr nuclear power plant (Fars)

CASCADES AND CENTRIFUGES: Experts and pundits alike continue to debate the goals and status of Iran's nuclear program. It remains unclear whether the program is, as Tehran insists, a purely peaceful enegy project or, as the United States claims, part of an effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
On June 7, 2006, RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel spoke with nuclear expert Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden to help sort through some of the technical issues involved. "[Natanz] will be quite a large plant," Kile said. "There will be about 50,000 centrifuges and how much enriched uranium that can produce [is] hard to say because the efficiency of the centrifuges is not really known yet. But it would clearly be enough to be able to produce enough [highly-enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon in fairly short order, if that's the route that they chose to go...." (more)


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THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.


CHRONOLOGY

An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.

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