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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran sanctions should help strengthen nonproliferation - deputy Russian FM

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - Any new sanctions against Iran should work toward the strengthening of the nonproliferation regime, a deputy Russian foreign minister said Wednesday in a signal that Moscow will not back strong punitive action against Tehran.

"The Russian side believes that sanctions, when and if the UN Security Council makes an appropriate decision, should pursue the goal of strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime," Sergei Ryabkov told RIA Novosti.

"We would deem as inappropriate any other attempts to promote a possible future resolution which would go beyond strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime," he said.

Ryabkov added that Russia's position was that any sanctions resolution should keep the door open to a political and diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Ryabkov told Russian business daily Kommersant earlier today that Russia regrets that Iran has been unwilling to compromise on its nuclear program and recognizes that sanctions are necessary in certain circumstances.

His comments come a day after U.S. President Barack Obama said Washington and its allies were developing "significant" sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its decision to begin enriching uranium to 20%.

Russia, a traditional Iranian ally that is building the country's first nuclear plant, has moved closer in recent months to the position of Western nations, who fear that Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

Russia, which has sway in the UN Security Council as a permanent veto-wielding member, previously backed several UN sanctions resolutions against Iran, but eventually managed to water them down.

The West suspects Iran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, but the Islamic Republic insists it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.

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