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Igor Ivanov (left) with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, at a Tehran news conference in early October (epa)
October 31, 2006 -- Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said today that his country has not seen evidence to indicate that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
"We do not have information that would suggest that Iran is carrying out a nonpeaceful [nuclear] program," Reuters quoted Ivanov as telling a Moscow news conference. ""We believe that the possibilities for continuing political discussion around this problem [Iran's nuclear program] have not been exhausted."
Moscow and Beijing have consistently balked at saying sanctions should be imposed against Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
Key members of the UN Security Council -- including Britain, France, and the United States, in addition to Russia and China -- are weighing a European draft of a sanctions resolution targeting Iran.
The United States has accused Iran of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge that Iranian officials have consistently rejected.
The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has criticized Tehran for obfuscation and said it has not been convinced that Iran's nuclear program is purely civilian.
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials have rebuffed international efforts to curb Iran's nuclear activities -- particularly uranium enrichment -- and said that Iran is well within its rights to harness nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
THE COMPLETE PICTURE: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.
An annotated timeline
of Iran's nuclear program.