Presidents Ahmadinejad (left) and Putin in Shanghai on June 15 (epa)
June 15, 2006 -- Speaking in Shanghai, where he met Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Iran has a right to develop nuclear technology.
Putin said any country, including Iran, has a right to use high technology, but it needs to do it in a way that "does not arouse concerns of the international community on the [nuclear] nonproliferation issue."
"Russia has been a gradual and reliable partner of Iran," Putin added. "I am sure you have no doubts about that."
He also asked Ahmadinejad's opinion of the new proposal by Great Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad said the Russian and Iranian positions were close and that they support each other.
The Iranian president is attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's annual summit as an observer. Russia, along with China and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are the group's full members.