Monday, January 23, 2012

Russia rejects sanctions against Iran

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Source: Press TV

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has rejected unilateral sanctions against Iran, saying such sanctions would be counterproductive.

"Unilateral sanctions do not help matters," Lavrov said on Monday. "We will restrain everyone from making harsh moves. We will seek the resumption of negotiations."

He made the remarks after European diplomats confirmed earlier on Monday that the EU has agreed to impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports.

Lavrov also noted that he was confident that new round of talks between Iran and Western powers could be resumed soon.

"Moscow believes that there are fairly firm prospects for the resumption of talks in the immediate future," he said.

In a statement on Friday, EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that the P5+1 -- the US, the UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany -- is ready to resume talks with Iran.

The last round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 was held in Turkish city of Istanbul in January 2011.

Russia has repeatedly criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency for its November report.

"These opportunities [resumption of talks] exist despite an entire series of recent steps, including those taken by the IAEA director general," the Russian foreign minister said

The IAEA report accused Iran of conducting activities related to developing nuclear weapons before 2003, adding that these activities "may still be ongoing."

Iran, however, dismissed the allegation as "unbalanced, unprofessional and prepared with political motivation and under political pressure mostly by the US."

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