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China Unlikely To Accept Iran Nuclear Invite; Russia Undecided

A file photo from inside Iran's nuclear facility at Natanz
China says it is unlikely to accept Iran's recent offer to tour its nuclear facilities.

Iran has invited Russia, China, and Hungary, which currently holds the European Union presidency, to tour the sites this month. Other major powers involved in talks on Iran's controversial nuclear program -- the United States, Britain, France, and Germany -- were not invited.

The EU has already indicated it will not go.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said any gesture that indicated greater openness from Iran should be welcomed, but cautioned that such a visit could never replace regular inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or talks with the major powers.

Iran has restricted IAEA inspections, while the next round of talks between Iran and the six major powers is set for January 21-22 in Istanbul.

A number of Western governments suspect Tehran of trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability, something the IAEA has said it cannot rule out.

compiled from agency reports