Iran General NewsBush, Putin discuss Iran

Bush, Putin discuss Iran

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UPI: President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke briefly Monday on the nuclear standoff with Iran. United Press International

WASHINGTON, May 1 (UPI) — President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke briefly Monday on the nuclear standoff with Iran.

The White House gave few details of the telephone call, but said the two leaders expressed continued determination over preventing “Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

The two leaders also renewed their “commitment to keeping in close contact” on the Iran issue.

Russia, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, is opposed to any strong economic sanctions against Iran to gain its compliance with international inspection mandates and to abandon nuclear fuel enrichment, which the United States and others believe is a mask for developing nuclear weapons.

The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report Friday saying Tehran had failed to halt enrichment programs despite a Security Council demand that it do so.

European countries have offered a number of economic carrots to Iran in exchange for stopping enrichment, and Russia has even offered to enrich the fuel for Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for civilian energy purposes.

Russia, under previous deals with Tehran, has helped Iran build nuclear facilities and stands to make an expected $10 billion from them. Oil-hungry China, another veto-wielding Security Council member with business links to Tehran, also opposes stringent international sanctions.

Iran says it intends to go ahead with nuclear fuel enrichment despite the opposition of the United Nations and Western powers.

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