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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow says no need for new Iran sanctions

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti) - Further sanctions against Iran have until recently not been an option, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

Andrei Nesterenko said the issue of new international sanctions against Tehran "has not been considered in the framework of the Group of Six [Iran Six]."

"It is our position that... sanctions alone cannot solve the problem, and there is a need for a continuous search for additional resources to make progress," Nesterenko said.

Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States have been trying to persuade Iran to halt uranium enrichment it says it needs for electricity generation for economic and diplomatic incentives. Iran-Six envoys last met in Geneva on October 1.

However, Britain's UN envoy said on Saturday the UN Security Council could introduce new sanctions against Iran by late February unless Tehran accepts the Iran Six's offer on its controversial nuclear program.

"There will be some discussion among the Six first, before we table something in New York. But I think probably by the end of February, certainly I expect there to be sanctions," British envoy Mark Lyall Grant told RIA Novosti.

Iran, which is already under three sets of United Nations sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, recently announced plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities. Western powers suspect it of pursuing an atomic weapons program.

"We shall be discussing among the six of us over the next few weeks on what elements might be included in a new sanctions resolution against Iran. But at the same time we will always leave the door open to further dialogue," the British diplomat said.

Lyall Grant said it was not too late for Iran to start to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the international community to avoid sanctions.

Britain, the United States and France warned Tehran they were likely to push for new sanctions early next year if it refused to halt its nuclear program during a UN Security Council meeting on December 10.

Nesterenko earlier said Moscow preferred "political and diplomatic methods," and that any further sanctions against the Islamic republic were unnecessary.

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