A Russian diplomat said U.N. sanctions personnel risk undermining nuclear diplomacy with Iran by making unfounded allegations, Reuters reports.
"Any information not backed up by concrete facts ... could have a negative impact on the conduct of negotiations" between Iran and six other countries, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday. He spoke weeks after council analysts suggested that Tehran had attempted to violate international ballistic-missile sanctions as it pursued diplomacy with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Churkin said the negotiating countries would launch two weeks of discussions on July 2. The unusually long gathering is aimed at developing terms to restrict Iran's bomb-usable nuclear activities and lift sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation. The sides are working to hammer out a long-term deal by July 20, when an interim accord is scheduled to expire.
The Russian envoy added that the U.N. Panel of Experts had inappropriately called for details on how sanctions should be implemented if negotiators finalize a new atomic accord.
"This is an issue that is outside their mandate," he said. "The [experts] should not interfere in this extremely sensitive process. And in particular it is unacceptable to pre-judge its outcome."
Tehran insists its atomic ambitions are peaceful, but its assurances have faced skepticism from Washington and other Western capitals.
"Coordinative paperwork is completed on building more Russia-designed sections of Iran's southern Bushehr nuclear power plant," Rosatom said on Wednesday in prepared comments.
Clarification: This article was modified after publication to add context to the headline.