MOSCOW – The presidents of Russia and China on Monday called on Iran to fulfill the U.N. Security Council's demands over its disputed nuclear program — a sign of impatience from Iran's two closest allies over its continued defiance.
The joint call from Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao came a day after Iran announced it was partially suspending cooperation with the International Aromic Energy Agency in response to the latest Security Council sanctions — a decision the United States said was a "step in the wrong direction."
Iran insisted it was not aiming to escalate the standoff with its partial suspension, which truncates the time period in which it will notify the U.N. about new nuclear projects.
"Iran is not after adventurism. It does not want to violate international measures," said Kazem Jalali, the spokesman of parliament's committee on foreign policy and national security.
In their joint statement, Putin and Hu said their countries — permanent, veto-wielding Security Council members — were ready to "search for a comprehensive, long-term and mutually acceptable solution to the Iranian nuclear problem." They also emphasized that the increasingly tense dispute should be resolved "exclusively through peaceful means."
Russia and China have significant trade ties with Iran and have used their veto power to push for less stringent sanctions against their ally. That stance has often put them at odds with the other veto powers, the United States, Britain and France, whichaccused Russia of caving in to U.S. pressure to take a tougher line on Iran for defying international demands to halt parts of its nuclear program.
Russian officials denied media speculation that it was putting political pressure on Iran under cover of the financial dispute.
"The fact that our Iranian partners have overcome their difficulties is positive, however, it far from compensates for the requirements of the (project) that have arisen during the period of nonpayment," Atomstroiexport spokesman Sergei Novikov said in a statement.
The company also said the new payment was just half of the monthly amount needed for a normal construction schedule to be resumed.