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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lavrov Voicing Hope for Resumption of Iran Talks

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday voiced hope for a quick resumption of international talks on Iran's nuclear program, but it remained unclear whether the Kremlin had succeeded in persuading Tehran to soften its stance in talks with a top Iranian official.

"We will push for our common goal -- the resumption of talks with six nations," Lavrov said in a statement Saturday after President Vladimir Putin's meeting with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

The two days of talks between Russian officials and Larijani signaled a renewed effort to force Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment effort. Previous Russian attempts to put pressure on Tehran have brought no visible result, and Iran has snubbed Moscow's proposal to enrich uranium for the Islamic republic on Russian soil.

Larijani remained defiant after the first round of meetings on Friday, saying Tehran would push ahead with its controversial nuclear program, and suggesting it could break off ties with the United Nations nuclear watchdog if the punishments proposed by European nations were enacted.

Larijani did not make any public statements Saturday.

Lavrov said after Saturday's talks that Russia and Iran would make efforts to restart talks between Tehran and the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.

The five Security Council members and Germany offered Iran economic and political incentives in June if it agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment effort. But Tehran said it would continue enrichment, a process that is central to both civilian power generation and the production of nuclear weapons.

Anton Khlopkov, an expert on Iran with the Moscow-based PIR-Center independent think tank, said it was impossible to say whether Moscow achieved progress in persuading Iran to suspend its uranium program -- a condition for the resumption of international talks -- or was just trying to put a positive spin on another diplomatic failure.