Lavrov: Russia Doubts Iran Would Fulfill Terms of Nuclear Deal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday doubted Iran would fulfill the terms of a deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey aimed at resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis.

"There are no 100 percent guarantees. Very much will depend on how Iran will approach its commitments. If it strictly abides by them, Russia will actively support the scheme proposed by Brazil and Turkey," Lavrov said.

Signed last week, the deal calls for Iran to deposit a large part of its uranium stockpile in Turkey in exchange for better-enriched nuclear fuel destined for a research reactor in Tehran.

"We welcome this deal. If fully implemented, it will create very important preconditions not just for the solution of the concrete problem -- supplies of fuel for this reactor -- but for improving the atmosphere for the renewal of negotiations," Lavrov said in televised remarks.

But Lavrov gave no indication of how the deal might affect Russia's stance on a US-drafted resolution in the UN Security Council calling for Iran to be punished with a new round of sanctions.

Russia has continued to back the sanctions resolution despite the signing of the Brazil-Turkey deal, angering Iran and leading to a heated exchange this week between Russian and Iranian officials.

The deal, spearheaded by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was seen as a last-ditch bid to avoid the new UN sanctions.

But it was received coolly by Western governments, who suspect Tehran of seeking to acquire an atomic bomb under the guise of its civilian nuclear energy program.

Tehran denies that it is seeking to build atomic weapons and insists that its nuclear program is strictly peaceful in nature.(AFP)