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Iranian President Ahmadinejad (file photo) (Fars)
October 31, 2006 -- Iran's president, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, has reportedly told his Russian counterpart that talks on Iran's nuclear dispute are hindered by a lack of authority on the European side.
Iranian television today said that Ahmadinejad made the comments to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation.
Moscow has said that Putin told Ahmadinejad during the same conversation that Russia favors further negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program.
EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana held months of fruitless talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.
Ahmadinejad suggested to a crowd on October 30 that "efforts by the big powers" to punish Iran for its nuclear activities would "only incite anger and hatred."
"The Iranian nation will respond to restrictive activities with an appropriate and firm response," Ahmadinejad said.
Also today, Muhammad el-Baradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said his organization is still unable to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.
Key members of the UN Security Council are currently debating a draft European resolution on sanctions to punish Iran for its failure to provide full disclosure of its nuclear program or halt uranium enrichment.
(compiled from agency reports)