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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Churkin Sees Shift in Mood Over Iran

APVitaly Churkin
UNITED NATIONS -- Russia's UN ambassador said the confrontational approach toward Iran over its nuclear program had changed as a result of this week's ministerial meeting to a new strategy of engagement that will offer Tehran broad incentives to suspend uranium enrichment.

"The mood has changed completely," Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters, who asked about the outcome of meetings on Iran on Monday and Tuesday involving the foreign ministers of Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany. He spoke Wednesday.

Churkin said the key nations were now focusing on putting together a package of incentives to try to achieve a peaceful solution instead of talking about how many days Iran should be given to halt enrichment or face possible further measures, including sanctions.

In Moscow, Security Council chief Igor Ivanov issued Russia's latest warning Thursday against a U.S. attack on Iran, saying the use of military force could have broadly devastating effects.

"We believe any military action in Iran could lead to consequences that could seriously explode the situation in the region and beyond its boundaries," Ivanov said.

Ivanov's statement came amid news agency reports that Mohammed Saeedi, Iran's deputy nuclear chief, was in Moscow for talks with nuclear officials on the nuclear power plant Russia is building in Iran. The Iranian Embassy refused to confirm or deny the reports, and officials at the Federal Atomic Energy Agency could not be reached for comment.

The British, French and Germans, who cut off more than two years of negotiations with Iran earlier this year after Tehran said it would resume its enrichment activities, are working on the package, and Churkin said Russia would also be involved.

Political directors of the six countries are scheduled to meet in London on May 19 to try to agree on the measures, said France's UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, whose country co-sponsored the resolution with Britain.

European officials said the package was likely to include provisions for Iran to have a civilian nuclear energy program without enrichment, to ensure the country's energy security and trade benefits.