A senior Russian diplomat says that even if Iran sought to make a nuclear weapon, it does not have the necessary "means" to do so.
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Moscow has worked closely with Tehran in constructing Iran's first nuclear power plant in Bushehr over the past decade.
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"One cannot say today that Iran can create nuclear weapons," head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department of European cooperation, Vladimir Voronkov, was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying Tuesday.
Voronkov said Russian intelligence agencies confirm that Iran does not have the "means" to develop a military nuclear program.
Russia, helping Iran construct a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr, has worked closely with Iran in the field of nuclear technology over the past decade.
His remarks come shortly after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday that Iran "is still pursuing quite clearly the technology that can lead to a nuclear weapon."
Under the allegation that a nuclear Tehran would pose an existential threat to Israel; Washington and Tel Aviv have threatened Iran with the use of military action should the country continue its enrichment program.
Iran insists its activities are directed at the civilian applications of the technology and are in line with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) -- the treaty grants all signatories the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration's carrot-and-stick policy toward Iran has resulted in three rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions against Tehran -- which Moscow also approved of.
The Kremlin later denounced the US policy and urged the White House to engage Iran in direct diplomacy. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in early September that he would not approve of any new sanctions against Tehran for the time being.
On Tuesday, Voronkov said the difference between the stances of Russia and the West on Iran's nuclear program is that "our partners want to use instruments of pressure."
"We do not consider such instruments to be always effective," the Russian diplomat added.
Tel Aviv's rising rhetoric against Iran has fueled speculations that an Israeli go-it-alone strike is in the offing. However, many analysts believe an Israeli attack on Iran would not be possible without a US green light.
Former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski warned on the weekend that Israel risked jeopardizing relations with Washington by pushing the US government to opt for an attack.
Following the US foreign policy mogul's warning, Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Tuesday that military option against Iran seems unnecessary, claiming the worldwide financial crisis has crippled Tehran from investing in its nuclear program.
According to the UN agency investigating Iran's nuclear program, there will not be any "credible assurance of undeclared nuclear material and activities" in the country unless Tehran increases its nuclear cooperation.
In response, Iran has welcomed the change in the White House, saying that the Obama administration should move to pave the way for the two countries to resolve the controversy surrounding the Iranian program.
The UN nuclear watchdog said in its latest report that it has "been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran," adding that Iran has managed to enrich uranium-235 to a level "less than 5 percent."
The rate is consistent with the development of a nuclear power plant -- nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.
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