Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (on the sidelines of an economic summit in Indonesia) that Iran likely wants “more clarity” about the way forward. “Iran probably wants more clarity,” Lavrov said. “More specific steps to be spelled out on the road to the result which we all want to achieve. And I think this will be discussed next week in Geneva, a meeting to which Iran agreed. And to which Iran and three plus three are getting ready in a very constructive mood, as our contacts in New York show.” Kerry said the United States is encouraged by Iran’s recent outreach efforts, but that actions, and not words, are what will make a difference. “So what we need are a set of proposals from Iran that fully disclose how they will show the world that their program is peaceful,” Kerry said. “And we have made it clear that if there are those indicators, the United States and our allies are absolutely prepared to move in appropriate ways to meet their actions. Kerry said Iran has not responded to an offer the P5+1 group made earlier this year, which called for Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent and halt enrichment at one of its nuclear facilities. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Sunday that offer was no longer valid, and that the P5+1 should come to next week’s negotiations with a “new point of view.” Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes and wants the international community to lift a range of sanctions imposed for its refusal to halt enrichment activity. The possible threat of a ballistic missile strike from countries like Iran has led the United States to plan a missile shield in Europe. Russia disagrees with the move, saying the system could neutralize its own strategic missile force and leave it vulnerable to the West. Kerry said Monday it is too early to make determinations about the system as long as the Iranian threat continues. But he said the U.S. and Russia are continuing to talk about the plan and are trying to work out a way that meets the needs of both countries.
US, Russia Want Clarity on Iran Nuclear Issue
1 hour ago Moscow (AFP) – Russian investigators said Wednesday several of the 30 Greenpeace activists already charged with piracy over their Arctic oil drilling protest were set to face additional charges for “other grave crimes”. The Moscow-based Investigative Committee said the authorities had found “narcotic substances” on the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise ship detained by Russia. They added that some of the equipment on the vessel was of “dual purpose” and “could have been used not just for ecological purposes”. Investigators also said that they were working to determine who exactly “rammed coast guard motor boats on purpose, preventing border guards from fulfilling their duties” and putting their life and health at risk. “Taking into consideration the data received in the course of the investigation of the criminal case, the charge already filed against everyone is set to be adjusted,” the Investigative Committee said. Greenpeace activist Faiza Oulahsen, from the Netherlands, is pictured at the Leninsky district Court “It’s obvious to the investigation that a number of individuals will be charged with committing other grave crimes,” it said. “Also, during the search of the ship narcotic substances have been confiscated — presumably poppy straw and morphine. The origin of these substances and their purpose is also being established.” Greenpeace spokesman Aaron Gray-Block declined immediate comment. Last week, Russian investigators charged the ship’s 30 activists from 18 countries, including a freelance photojournalist and freelance videographer, with piracy which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison. The activists were last month placed in pre-trial detention for two months. A protester holds a placard during a demonstration against the detention of Greenpeace activists in Earlier Wednesday, Greenpeace chief Kumi Naidoo asked for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, saying he was willing to travel to Russia at any moment to secure the activists’ release. “Were our friends to be released on bail, I offer myself as security against the promise that the 28 Greenpeace International activists will answer for their peaceful protest according to the criminal code of Russia,” he said in an open letter to Putin. Putin has said that the activists “of course are not pirates” but his spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said the Kremlin strongman had expressed his personal opinion. Crime & Justice
Sochi Olympic flame 4-month relay begins, highlighting Putin’s Russia
and British convoys bringing in supplies to help the Soviet Union fight Nazi Germany. In more recent weeks, though, the city has made the news because of the 30 Greenpeace activists in its jails, charged with piracy after a protest at a Russian offshore oil platform. ___ KHANTY-MANSIYSK The center of a Western Siberian region where more than half of Russia’s oil is produced, Khanty-Mansiysk is a boom town in the middle of the taiga that looks more Scandinavian than Russian. The city and region were named for the indigenous people, the Khanty and Mansi, who by tradition are reindeer herders. ___ MAGADAN This northeastern city was the gateway to the most notorious Gulag labor camps under dictator Josef Stalin. The Mask of Sorrow monument in Magadan honors the tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of people who died either en route to or in the Kolyma camps, where prisoners, many of them intellectuals, mined for gold, cut lumber or built roads during long, brutally cold winters. At the protest rallies in Moscow in the winter of 2011-12, demonstrators chanted “Putin, skis, Magadan.” ___ ANADYR The easternmost point of Russia on the Bering Sea, Anadyr is the capital of the Chukotka region, whose governor from 2001 to 2008 was Roman Abramovich. The Russian billionaire is now better known as the owner of the Chelsea Football Club, a soccer team in London. ___ VLADIVOSTOK This city is the final stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway, a seven-day journey from Moscow, and Russia’s largest port on the Pacific Ocean. Vladivostok’s economy is greased by the import of Japanese cars, and used cars from Japan with the steering wheel on the right fill the streets. In preparation for hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012, Vladivostok got new roads and bridges, including one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world. ___ BIROBIDZHAN Birobidzhan is the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region, which Stalin created in the 1920s in an unpopulated area along the Chinese border. Jews now make up a small minority of the population, but the city has seen a revival of Jewish culture in recent years. ___ IZHEVSK Mikhail Kalashnikov put this industrial city on the map.