Russia Says Timing of UN Report on Iran Nuclear Weapons ‘Wrong’

Russia criticized the United Nations for planning to release a report today that may show Iran is trying to move closer to having a nuclear weapon, saying the timing is “wrong.”

This report dwells on the past, a Foreign Ministry official in Moscow said by phone. Its release will, “without a doubt, strain the atmosphere” and hinder the start of serious negotiations, the official said, declining to be identified in line with government policy. The scientist in question is Ukrainian, the official said, declining to elaborate.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to publish this week its quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear work, in which inspectors are expected to conclude for the first time that Iran is working toward nuclear weapons.

The report may show that the Persian Gulf country used information from a Russian scientist to explore how to raise the yield of atomic warheads, said three officials with knowledge of the document.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday that an Israeli military strike against Iran would be a “serious mistake” with “unpredictable consequences.” Israeli President Shimon Peres said the possibility of using force to halt the Iranian program was drawing nearer, Reuters reported Nov. 4.

Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that a Russian offer to resolve the dispute by lifting sanctions in stages in return for Iranian cooperation on inspections was “still on the negotiating table.” Lavrov said he hoped “no actions will be taken that could destroy these chances.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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