Iran General NewsMerkel, Putin to discuss Iran in Siberia next week

Merkel, Putin to discuss Iran in Siberia next week

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Reuters: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in the western Siberian city of Tomsk next week with Iran’s atomic plans one of the main topics of discussion, Germany said on Wednesday. BERLIN, April 19 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in the western Siberian city of Tomsk next week with Iran’s atomic plans one of the main topics of discussion, Germany said on Wednesday.

“This issue (Iran’s nuclear programme) will figure prominently in upcoming discussions, not least between the chancellor and the Russian president,” German government spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters.

Merkel will be in Tomsk next Wednesday and Thursday. Steg said she and Putin would also discuss energy ties and political issues such as last month’s election in Belarus.

Steg said Iran’s determination to develop its uranium enrichment programme despite worldwide condemnation was leading to further isolation for the Islamic republic.

“We want the international community to keep up the pressure so that the regime in Tehran realises its continued pursuit of enrichment will only lead to further self-isolation,” he said.

Amid suspicions in the West that Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons, Iran last week defied U.N. demands and declared it had enriched uranium to a level used in power stations. Iran says it only wants nuclear technology to produce electricity, not bombs.

The U.N. Security Council has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to report by April 28 on Iran’s compliance with a council demand that it stop enriching uranium and answer the agency’s questions on its nuclear programme.

Steg said Berlin wanted the six key countries working to pressure Iran to freeze its nuclear enrichment programme — Germany, the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — to focus on resolving the crisis diplomatically.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner played down the failure of the six countries to reach an agreement on Iran at a meeting in Moscow late on Tuesday.

“This was a half-time meeting, so to speak,” he said, referring to the April 28 deadline for IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei’s report on Iran. “No specific result was expected to come out of it.”

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