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Russia voices strong opposition to sanctions against Iran

Vienna, Feb 15, IRNA-Russian Foreign Minister voiced Wednesday his country's strong opposition to any possible sanctions against Iran. Sergei Lavrov who is in Austrian Capital for talks with the European Troika -France, Britain and Germany- said in a press conference that sanctions have never resolved any row.

"On the contrary sanctions have always been an impetus for intensifying disagreements," He added.

"If we want Tehran to honor its commitments to the international community and continue with its transparent nuclear program, then the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should resume its activities in Iran," the Russian Foreign Minister underlined.

"We should also urge Iran to return to the negotiating table," he said.

The Austrian Foreign Minister, whose country is the current rotating head of EU, also called on Tehran to take advantage of remaining time till the UN National Security Council takes up Iran's nuclear dossier.

He also said that all efforts should be focused on diplomatic means to resolve the nuclear row.

In related news, Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Gholam-Reza Ansari here Tuesday assessed Russia's proposal for joint uranium enrichment with Iran as "constructive".

Ansari's remarks were part of his address to reporters at the Russian State Duma (lower chamber of Parliament).

"The proposal has the potential of resolving the issue if its shortcomings and disadvantages are removed" he said.

"If the two countries' experts hold talks to discuss details of the offer they can undoubtedly find solutions to its shortcomings," he added.

He was optimistic on the outcome of talks scheduled to be held between the Iranian and Russian delegations on Feb 20 to discuss Russia's proposal to diffuse the crisis over Iran's nuclear activities.

... Payvand News - 2/16/06 ... --

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