Russia concerned by Iran nuclear plans: agencies

Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:40am EST
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is seriously concerned by Iranian plans to expand its uranium enrichment program, local news agencies quoted a source in Russia's foreign ministry as saying on Monday.

"Russia is seriously concerned by the latest statements of the Iranian leadership," the source was quoted as saying.

Iran announced plans on Sunday to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants in a major expansion of its atomic program, just days after the U.N. nuclear watchdog rebuked it for carrying out such work in secret.

Russia, which backed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution censuring Iran, last week called on the Islamic Republic to react seriously to the signal that international community was trying to send.

Russia has so far refused to publicly support calls by the United States for the threat of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The West believes Iran is trying to build atomic weapons, a charge denied by Tehran.

Russia's Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko was in Iran on Monday for a visit to the Bushehr nuclear power station, which a Russian state-owned company is helping to build.

(Reporting by Oleg Shchedrov, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Dmitry Solovyov)