09222014Mon

Russia will back US-Iran nuclear talks: FT

LONDON (AFP) — Russia will support one-to-one talks between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told the British-based publication that negotiations could help avert conflict between Israel and Iran.

Asked what Moscow's reaction to direct talks would be, Ryabkov told the FT: "We will not have a word against this. Of course, we would hope we would be informed on the content of these arrangements.

"We are down to earth," he added. "We want something that will bring everyone out of this morass."

Ryabkov, Russia's chief negotiator on Iran's nuclear programme, confirmed that informal contacts between the US and Iran were ongoing.

Iran, reeling from international sanctions over its nuclear programme and facing four more years with Barack Obama as leader of the US, has not ruled out direct talks with Washington but says they will not come overnight.

Obama's re-election last week drew an ambiguous response from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who dismissed the US elections as a "battleground for the capitalists," at a forum on democracy in Indonesia.

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