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Russia signals support for Iran sanctions

4 May 2010 18:12

Russia’s lead negotiator on the Iranian nuclear issue says he is “optimistic” about the result of the Group of 5+1 negotiations on the forth round of UN sanctions against Iran.

“These talks are slowly moving forward,” Reuters quoted Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Tuesday.

“Definitely there is still some space to bridge over, but I wouldn’t exaggerate or over-exaggerate the differences,” he added.

He reiterated Russia’s position that the point of a fourth round of UN sanctions should not be to punish Iran but to “strengthen the non-proliferation regime.”

Although Moscow’s stance on the Iran sanction remains vague, Russia’s backing for sanctions against Tehran during the past month has grown, shifting from support for Iran’s nuclear program to veiled cautions.

“Moscow could support further nuclear sanctions with the UN Security Council if all other means have been exhausted,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Danish television last month.

In another strong signal of support for more UN sanctions against Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week, “In the absence of cooperation on the part of Iran, it is quite possible that sanctions will become inevitable.”

The new round of UN sanctions calls for a comprehensive arms embargo on Iran, allowing foreign states to seize Iranian ships suspected of carrying materials linked to its nuclear program.

It also curtails Tehran’s ability to raise new investments in the country’s energy sector.

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