Russia wants nuclear talks between Iran and the G5+1 to be resumed “as quickly as possible.”
Ria Novosti reports that Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said in Moscow that his express wishes are that the meeting between Iran and the G5+1 representatives regarding Iran’s nuclear program takes place in April.
Early this month, Iran announced that it is prepared to join nuclear discussions with the G5+1.
Turkey had announced that it will be hosting the talks; however, a report from the Israeli news agency Haaretz indicated that meeting will take place on April 13 in Geneva.
The last time the two sides met was 14 months ago in Istanbul, and they parted ways after reaching an impasse in their negotiations.
Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign affairs chief, invited Iran in October of 2011 to sit once more at the negotiating table, and the offer was accepted in February in a letter from Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.
Jalili’s letter was deemed positive by both Ashton and the U.S. Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton.
However, in the meantime international sanctions on Iran have been ratcheted up. Iran now faces sanctions on all its financial institutions, including the Central Bank, as well as an embargo on its oil exports to the EU starting July 2012. Japan has also announced that it has significantly reduced its oil imports from Iran and is looking at decreasing them further.
Russia has been critical of these unilateral sanctions and insists the only way to resolve the nuclear disputes with Iran is through talks and diplomacy.
Iran refuses to stop uranium enrichment as the West demands. Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and uranium enrichment is a necessary part of supplying fuel for its nuclear reactors, which are solely being used to produce energy and medical products.