Russia fumes at ‘childish’ debate over Iran venue

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Russia on Monday accused world powers and Iran of behaving like capricious children as they delay holding new nuclear crisis talks because of disagreements about where these should be held.

“We are ready to meet anywhere and as soon as possible. We think that the essence of our talks is far more important than any morale boost a particular city may give,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

“We hope that common sense will prevail and we stop behaving like capricious little children,” he added.

Iran blamed world powers on Saturday as it officially confirmed that the talks would be moved from January to February to an as-yet unspecified location.

The so-called “P5+1” -- the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany -- and Iran have met three times without a breakthrough in the past 10 months.

Israel and much of the West suspect Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of its nuclear energy program. Tehran denies the charge.

Moscow hosted the last top-level meetings in June has recently expressed repeated frustrations over the delays.

Lavrov said he found the dispute over location “completely unacceptable.”

Some diplomats had earlier said the talks might be held for the second time in Istanbul.

Iran has preferred a neutral venue or a country more sympathetic to its position rather that a Western capital in which it could also come under pressure from the local press.

The idea of holding the meeting in the Kazakh capital Astana has also been floated while Western officials have also mentioned the idea of Geneva talks.

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