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Russia remains vague on Iran sanctions

26 April 2010 0:17

Washington and Moscow have discussed Tehran’s nuclear program over the phone, amid mixed signals from Russia over the US-led efforts to impose sanctions on Iran.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Sunday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a detailed telephone discussion on Saturday with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

The two “discussed in detail the current situation with the Iranian nuclear program, establishing that further steps should be taken on the agreed basis, taking into account the opinions of each of the six powers,” Reuters cited a Foreign Ministry statement.

The statement did not offer any details.

Despite recent hints that it may join the sanctions, Russia has stressed that it would not join any measures that are harshly punitive.

“There is no evidence that Iran has made a decision to produce nuclear weapons … We don’t want the non-proliferation regime to be used for strangling Iran, or taking some steps to deteriorate the situation and the living standards of people in Iran, ” Lavrov said in a recent interview with RIA Novosti.

The nuclear impasse has seen the United States and its allies accuse Iran of a clandestine agenda to develop nuclear weapons, stressing that its current efforts for a civilian nuclear technology is a smokescreen.

Iran, a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), says its program is aimed at the civilian applications of the technology, denying the charges.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced last week that Iran intends to hold talks with all 15 members of the UNSC.

The developments come as the White House claims it has moved closer to a fresh UN Security Council sanctions regime against Tehran over its enrichment program.

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