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Russia's Putin says Iran nuclear push is peaceful

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he has no doubt that Iran is adhering to international commitments on nuclear non-proliferation but regional and international concerns about Tehran's nuclear program could not be ignored.

Putin, whose country is among six world powers seeking to ensure that Iran does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, also said Iranian threats to Israel's existence were unacceptable.

His remarks appeared aimed to strike a balance between the interests of Iran, on the one hand, and on the other, Israel and global powers seeking to ensure Tehran does not acquire nuclear weapons.

"I have no doubt that Iran is adhering to the rules in this area. Because there is no proof of the opposite," Putin, whose country is one of six leading those diplomatic efforts, told Russian state-run English-language channel RT.

But he criticized Iran for rejecting a Russian offer to enrich uranium for Tehran's nuclear program and took aim at aggressive Iranian rhetoric about Israel, with which Putin has been improving ties in recent years.

"Iran is in a very difficult region and when we hear ... from Iran that Israel could be destroyed, I consider that absolutely unacceptable. That does not help," Putin said.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Michael Roddy)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130611/russias-putin-says-iran-nuclear-push-peaceful