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Russia Calls Iran Missile Tests 'Worrisome'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: "Of course it is worrisome."
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia is worried about Iran conducting test launches of missiles, Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.

Iran test-fired a new round of missiles on September 28 just days after disclosing it was building a second uranium enrichment plant -- a move which raised fresh suspicions that Tehran's nuclear program was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

The test launches were also conducted ahead of a meeting in Geneva on October 1 between Iran and a six-member group including five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany focused on Tehran's nuclear problem.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week backed the Western pressure on Iran to give up military elements of its nuclear program by warning Tehran that "other means" could be used if the Geneva talks failed.

Iran says its nuclear work is solely for generating peaceful electricity.

"Of course it is worrisome, when missile launches happen against the backdrop of an unresolved situation concerning Iran's nuclear program," Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying.

Lavrov was speaking to Russian reporters in New York after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Manuchehr Mottaki.

"I am convinced restraint is needed," Lavrov added. The agencies did not specify whether he meant restraint by Iran or by the West in response to the tests.

Earlier on September 28, a Foreign Ministry source told Russian agencies that Moscow wanted Western powers, seeking to introduce fresh sanctions against Iran, to exercise restraint.

"We should not give way to emotions now," the ministry source said. "We should try to calm down and the main thing is to launch a productive negotiations process [with Iran]."

Lavrov said he urged Mottaki to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in investigating the construction of a new uranium enrichment plant.

"We assume, that the Iranian side had heard us and we will see some kind of result of today's meeting," he said.