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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Aggression Towards Iran Damages Non-Proliferation - Lavrov

RIA Novosti

22:35 20/03/2012 MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - An aggressive stance against Iran only threatens nuclear non-proliferation instead of supporting it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

The Russian foreign minister said airstrikes against Iran “will only slow down the [Iranian] nuclear program but they will never cancel, close or abolish it.”

“As the CIA and U.S. officials admit, there is no proof that Iran’s leadership had made a political decision to produce nuclear weapons but I am almost convinced that such a decision is almost certain to be made after airstrikes on the country,” he said.

“Many analysts say that if Iran had a nuclear bomb, it wouldn’t face threats or airstrikes,” said Lavrov. “Moreover, some of Iran’s neighbors are already starting to think that the story of Muammar Gaddafi would have had a different ending if he had possessed such weapons. This gives certain countries grounds to think about running their own nuclear program.”

He added that the Iranian leadership’s threats to eliminate Israel were “foreign policy rhetoric aimed at reaching domestic and Islamic global goals” and are highly unlikely ever to be implemented.

“I’m convinced that Iran won't ever decide to do this because the region is tiny. Eliminating Israel without hitting Palestinians is, probably, impossible,” he said.

He also said that unilateral sanctions against Iran are directed primarily against the country’s economy and will have no impact on its nuclear ambitions.

“If we all seek clarification about blank spots in the nuclear program, then we should resort to collective sanctions and a unified stance,” Lavrov said. “Unilateral sanctions including Iranian oil deals ban.. are not directed at pursuing non-proliferation goals but at strangling the economy.”

The Russian foreign minister also expressed hope that a meeting between Iran and the six international negotiators would take place in April.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said Iran agreed to hold such talks “in the near future” and suggested Istanbul as a possible location.

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