Beijing, July 13 (ANI): Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that Iran is gaining the ability to build a nuclear bomb, the strongest criticism of Iran's nuclear program to emerge from the Kremlin under either Medvedev or his predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
According to China Daily, a major goal of US President Barack Obama's "reset" of relations with Moscow has been winning Russian backing for a tougher international line toward Iran.
"It is obvious that Iran is moving closer to possessing the potential which in principle could be used for the creation of nuclear weapons, Iran is not acting in the best way," Medvedev said.
He called on Tehran to "show openness and cooperate" with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Meanwhile, Washington welcomed the remarks made by Medvedev as a sign of growing international unity.
"This is about as blunt as Medvedev has ever been about Iran's nuclear program and should be taken as a good sign of increased international unity on Iran's nuclear program," an Obama administration official said.
Earlier, the United States, major European Union powers and Israel have said that they suspect Iran of trying to build atomic weapons under the cover of its civilian nuclear program.
Urged on by the Obama administration, Russia voted for a UN Security Council resolution on June 9 to impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. Medvedev said he was still skeptical of sanctions but they could prod diplomacy.
"I have said before that sanctions as a rule do not have the desired results. Their role is to send a signal, to stimulate the negotiating process," Medvedev said.
Moscow has been Tehran's main nuclear partner, building Iran's first nuclear power plant near the city of Bushehr, which is set to begin operations later this year.
But Russia has been dismayed by Iran's failure to disclose full details of its nuclear work and Medvedev has expressed growing concern in recent months about Tehran's nuclear aims.
Iran, however, had denied such claims and said that it has a right to nuclear power. (ANI)