Russia backs 'peaceful' nuclear drive in Iran
BEIJING - Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Iranian counterpart on Thursday that Moscow supports Tehran's atomic programme as long as it is "peaceful".
"We have always supported the right of the Iranian people to modern technologies, including the peaceful use of atomic energy," he told Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of a regional security summit in Beijing.
"But I want to emphasise that it is peaceful that we are talking about. You know our position."
The West believes Iran is trying to develop an atomic bomb under cover of a civilian programme but Tehran insists its intentions are purely peaceful, and the situation has brought about a shaky standoff.
The talks between the two leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit -- the first since Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term -- come as Russia prepares to host the latest round of global talks on Iran.
The June 18 and 19 meeting between world powers and Iranian negotiators will try to find a diplomatic solution to the current standoff over Tehran's nuclear programme.
Putin's comments also come after leaders of the SCO's member states issued a statement Thursday opposing any use of force in Iran, saying it could threaten global security.