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Russia: Iran merits U.N. nod on nukes

Russia criticized the United Nations for its failure to recognize Iran’s cooperation on its controversial nuclear program.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Iran deserves credit for the work it already has done in providing information to the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency on its program, according to the state Interfax news agency.

“A constant refusal to acknowledge the positive steps taken by Iran in its contacts with the IAEA will reduce the chances of clearing up the issues directly,” Lavrov told reporters.

Iran claims it is using the program to provide domestic energy, while a coalition of Western countries accuses it of developing nuclear weapons. A report by IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei earlier this month praised Iran for its cooperation and openness while noting that the Islamic Republic is still denying access to U.N. inspectors.

Israel and many Western critics charge that ElBaradei has ignored or downplayed the Iranian threat.

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