Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed Iran's nuclear energy program, saying the Islamic Republic has the right to peaceful use of nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.
“We presume that Iran, the same as any other state, has right to peaceful use of atomic energy, including enrichment operations,” Putin said in an address to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Friday.
Putin also welcomed Iran’s readiness to hold talks with the six major world powers (P5+1) to resolve the West’s nuclear standoff with Iran.
Iran and the P5+1 group - Russia, China, Britain, France, the US and Germany -- have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being on Iran’s nuclear energy program.
The two sides wrapped up their latest round of negotiations on April 6 in the Kazakh city of Almaty. An earlier meeting had been held in Almaty on February 26-27.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies falsely claim that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the US and the European Union using the unfounded allegation as a pretext to impose illegal sanctions on Iran.
Tehran strongly rejects the claim, maintaining that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
During the course of numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities by the IAEA, no evidence has ever been found showing that the Iranian nuclear energy program has been diverted toward non-civilian purposes.
President Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani are scheduled to hold talks later on Friday on the sidelines of the SCO summit.