Russian-Iranian nuclear plans a win-win

Cooperation between Moscow and Tehran could better provide for the national security of both states, the Russian Security Council chief, Nikolay Patrushev, has told journalists.

Patrushev is on a two-day visit to the Islamic Republic to meet with senior Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Following his talks on Tuesday with the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, Patrushev said that along with other issues, the sides had discussed the Iranian nuclear problem – an issue that has long been a headache for the international community.

In particular, the Russian and Iranian senior officials talked about cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the 5+1 group (the UN Security Council's five permanent members and Germany).

“The Iranian side welcomes Russia’s proposals,” Patrushev noted, as cited by RIA Novosti.

According to Saeed Jalili, “our Russian friends’ proposals can be the basis for the beginning of talks on regional and international cooperation, particularly, in the area of peaceful nuclear activities”.

He added that Patrushev’s visit to Tehran and the visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to Moscow – which is scheduled for August 16-17 – open a new stage in Russian-Iranian relations, which have quite a lot of potential for development.

Patrushev and Jallili discussed perspectives for cooperation between the two states in the peaceful use of atomic energy, including scientific exchange, and the construction of nuclear power stations and research reactors.

On July 13, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested a “step-by-step” approach, under which Iran could be rewarded with the gradual lifting of sanctions in the event that the republic addresses unanswered questions about its nuclear program.

"We have proposed to draw up a kind of roadmap on each of the IAEA requirements which Iran must fulfill," the Russian top diplomat said at the time. "We deem it possible, in response to each concrete, non-declarative step taken by Iran, to take a reciprocal step, freezing and cutting the volume of sanctions as progress continues."

The announcement was made during a media conference in Washington following Lavrov’s talks with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, Tehran has not yet officially received the “step-by-step” plan, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, as cited by ISNA agency.

Speaking at his weekly media briefing, he commented on the link between Patrushev’s visit to Tehran and the country’s nuclear program. It is “in line with cultivating long-term cooperation and is also due to the significance of the two sides," he said.

Mehmanparast also stressed the importance of holding “constant” consultations with Russia on leading bilateral and international issues. Such talks can lead to important cooperation bilaterally, as well as on the regional and international level he said, reports PressTV

Iranian authorities block Google+ before official launch

The Google+ social networking site has joined the long list of websites filtered by the Islamic Republic.

ITNA, Iran’s Telecommunications News Agency, reports that Google Plus which was announced two weeks ago, will no longer be accessible to Iranian users.

Google Plus is still not officially available to all users but it would have been over the next few months; however, Iranian authorities have already blocked the site without any explanation.

Iranian authorities have expanded their efforts to block internet sites since the controversial presidential election of 2009, which triggered widespread protests.

Protesters used social networking sites to rally demonstrators and also to report on the protests using text and photos.

Google+ is Google’s new social networking site, announced on June 28 on Google’s official weblog. It claims to offer users more possibilities than Facebook and has been designed with Facebook’s limitations in mind