Russian FM opposes further sanctioning Iran

02/05/2011 10:14

From Jerusalem Post

MUNICH — Russia's foreign minister on Saturday indicated that he opposes slapping more international sanctions on Iran in the standoff over its nuclear program.

Iran has been hit with several rounds of UN sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. Teheran again rebuffed UN-drafted proposals at talks in Istanbul in January, generating speculation about more economic pressures.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that "any new proposals ... would basically be aimed at suffocating the Iranian economy."

He said that "was not part of the agreement" when the UN Security Council's five permanent members and Germany started trying to allay doubts over Iran's nuclear intentions with a combination of incentives and pressure.

Lavrov argues the Istanbul meeting was "not a total failure."

Western negotiators expressed deep disappointment last month following talks with Iran in Istanbul, which ended without yielding progress or even paving the way for another round of negotiations.

“We had hoped to embark on a discussion of practical ways forward, and have made every effort to make that happen,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement after the conclusion of two days of discussions in Istanbul over international efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program. “I am disappointed to say that this has not been possible.”

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