November 2, 2006, RFE/RL -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the international community to negotiate with Iran, and not isolate the country with sanctions, to settle the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program.
Lavrov told journalists in Moscow that the Russian government cannot support a European Union-proposed draft resolution that would impose UN Security Council sanctions to punish Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.
"We cannot support those measures which in fact aim to isolate Iran from the outside world, including the isolation of the people who are charged with leading negotiations on the nuclear program," Lavrov said. "We already have set forth strong conditions, and it's negotiations which we want. There's no need to make a new resolution on the Iranian nuclear issue.''
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States remained optimistic that Russia will eventually support a UN sanctions resolution.
Asked about Lavrov's comment that Russia does not support the current draft resolution, McCormack said it suggested that Moscow may want to make "some changes" to the draft.
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