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Putin Voices Support For Iran's 'Peaceful' Atomic Power

Putin said Iran has Russia's backing as long as its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.
President Vladimir Putin has told his Iranian counterpart Mahmud Ahmadinejad that Russia supports Iran's development of atomic energy -- but only for peaceful, civilian purposes.

Putin met with Ahmadinejad June 7 on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Beijing.

The Russian president said that as long as Iran intends to use nuclear power for "peaceful" purposes it can count on Russian backing.

Putin noted Iran and Russia have already cooperated successfully in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran.

Russia has supported four rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions against the Islamic republic over Iranian nuclear work that could be directed toward a nuclear weapon.

Moscow, however, has been resisting Western calls to impose further measures.

Iran denies any effort to make a nuclear weapon.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on June 7 called on Iran to be prepared to "take concrete steps," particularly in halting uranium enrichment to 20 percent, at the next round of talks with world powers.
Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and AFP