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Russian Foreign Minister Visits Tehran


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
The crisis over the Iran's nuclear program and the conflict in Syria are expected to top the agenda of talks on June 13 in Tehran between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iranian officials.

Lavrov's visit comes ahead of talks in Moscow on the nuclear dispute on June 18-19 between Iran and six major world powers, including Russia.

Ahead of Lavrov's visit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Iran needs to respond constructively in Moscow to international proposals aimed at defusing tensions over the nuclear issue.

"I am quite certain that they are under tremendous pressure from the Russians and the Chinese to come to Moscow prepared to respond," Clinton said. "Now, whether that response is adequate enough we will have to judge."

Russia, however, has refused to back Western calls for further sanctions against Iran. Iran's IRNA news agency quoted Russia's ambassador to Iran, Levan Jagaryan, as saying "the nuclear issue is a complicated and difficult issue and cannot be resolved in a short time period."

Iran's Mehr news agency reported that Iranian speaker of parliament Ali Larijani warned the country's nuclear negotiators not to compromise Iran's "rights." The agency quoted Larijani as saying that what is "prudent should be decided by the Iranian nation and be proportionate to the nation's needs."

Tehran says Lavrov's one-day visit includes meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili.

Iran's Foreign Ministry also said the success of the Moscow talks "depends on the degree of constructiveness of the position of the 5+1 group."

Russia's Foreign Ministry said Lavrov also would discuss the situation in Syria with Iranian officials. Moscow and Tehran back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and have warned against international intervention in the conflict.

WIth reporting by ITAR-TASS, IRNA, Mehr, and AFP
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