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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia rejects imposing more sanctions against Iran

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Feb 15, IRNA -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected imposing more sanctions against Iran in a new disagreement with his British counterpart William Hague.

'Further sanctions would mean the creation of social problems for the (Iranian) population and we would not be able to support them,' Lavrov said at a joint press conference with Hague in London.

'All the issues that our Western partners wanted to include (in the UN sanctions), but were not able to include, they imposed unilaterally,” he said through an interpreter.

“It is not in a partner-like character and we have put it openly to our British, German, French colleagues. We believe that it undermines the perspectives of our joint actions.'

Lavrov called for 'creative approaches' to deal with disputes over Iran’s civilian nuclear programme which Tehran would respond to.

'We need to identify a specific plan of movement. If Iran completes their specific IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) requirements, then Iran will know that the international community will make its step,' he said.

Hague admitted that Britain and Russian suffered from 'serious disagreements' that led to a deterioration in relations for the past four years but said that they had agreed to sign a ‘Hotline’ treaty.

“We have had some serious disagreements between our countries. We do not always see eye-to-eye now,” he said after holding talks with Lavrov.

“Where we disagree, we are able to raise it with each other, as we have done today. But this should not stop us from working together in areas which can bring benefits to both our countries.”

A fresh dispute erupted between the two countries last week after Russia prevented the Guardian’s correspondent to Moscow from entering the country, leading to a call from shadow European secretary Chris Bryant to prevent Lavrov’s visit.

But Hague said that the Russian foreign minister’s visit, coming four months after he travelled to Moscow, showed that the two countries “continue to seek a patient, steady improvement in relations.”

“It will take time. There will be no giant leaps. It is about measured, practical steps,” he admitted.

Harding’s refused entry, which has since been resolved, comes after tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between the two countries in December that followed Hague’s failed attempt to improve relations, which have soured since the assassination of a former KGB agent in London in 2006.

The Foreign Office said that the newly signed ‘Hotline’ treaty paves the way for an upgraded telephone link between No.10 and the Kremlin.

“This is not in any way a sign that we are returning to a cold-war mentality. It is about modernising an important communication link for a modern relationship,” Hague insisted at a joint press conference.

He said the talks covered a full range of foreign policy and security issues where there were common interests and included an agreed joint statement on Afghanistan, to work together to support the Afghan government towards transition by the end of 2014.

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