Russia rejects new measures against Iran

September 21, 2008 - 0:0

MOSCOW (AFP) -- Russia is against new UN Security Council measures targeting Iran, the foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday after the White House warned of a new round of sanctions.

At a meeting with senior diplomats from the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany on Friday, Russia “said it was against the development at this stage of additional measures in the UN Security Council,” the statement said.
“The Russian side underlined the necessity of continuing efforts to restore constructive dialogue with Tehran with the aim of moving forward the negotiation process,” the statement said.
Germany was also reticent on U.S. and French calls for new UN sanctions to press Iran to comply with demands for halting nuclear work.
The White House on Monday said Iran that it faced possible new sanctions over its (peaceful) nuclear program, but said poor relations with Russia -- a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council -- could complicate matters.
France echoed the call for sanctions, but China argued on Tuesday that such a move would not resolve the stalemate.
The foreign affairs political directors of the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany were meeting in Washington to help prepare for a meeting next week of their respective foreign ministers.
“All participants of the meeting expressed their support for the actions of the IAEA and underlined the need for Iran's full and transparent cooperation with the agency,” the Russian statement said.
The IAEA, the UN's atomic watchdog, has accused Iran of failing to freeze uranium enrichment activities as instructed by the United Nations.
As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is legally authorized to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
Three sets of UN sanctions have now been slapped on Iran, for defying Security Council resolutions to stop uranium enrichment.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have been severely damaged in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Germany’s foreign ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner said Germany still aimed to reach a negotiated settlement with Tehran.
“A substantial offer from the EU is on the table. We are still in talks with Iran to receive a concrete and we hope positive response to this offer. This has until now still been lacking,” he said, when asked about the calls for sanctions.
“Should there be no progress on the negotiations track, the German government believes the UN Security Council will become more relevant again and discussions will have to be held whether there should be new resolutions.
“This is not the track we are seeking - we want progress from negotiations. But unfortunately what we have seen until now has not made us optimistic.”
He said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had stressed the importance of a settling the issue quickly during talks Monday with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.
Germany is one of six world powers attempting to convince Iran to halt nuclear work with an incentives package in exchange for full suspension of uranium enrichment.