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Russia says no to war, sanctions on Iran

Source: Press TV

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he will not accept military action or new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities.

"We should not take any unilateral steps. It is not acceptable to opt for a military scenario," President Medvedev said Friday at the Valdai Club, which sees journalists and academics specializing on Russia.

His remarks come as speculation runs high that Israel and the US are drawing up plans to launch a military strike against Iran in a bid to hamper the country's nuclear program.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested last week that should Iran continue with its uranium enrichment program, it could be attacked by Israel."We could find one morning that Israel has struck (Iran)," said the French president, adding that no one would question the legitimacy of such an act of aggression.

US President George W. Bush and upper echelons in Tel Aviv have repeatedly threatened Iran with war under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), seeks nuclear weaponry.

Under US pressure, the UN Security Council has so far imposed three rounds of sanctions against Iran, demanding the country to halt its enrichment program.

This is while the UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran enriches uranium-235 to a level of 3.7 percent - a rate consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

The Russian president says Moscow only supports negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program, Reuters reported.

President Medvedev added that the talks between Iran and the West, led by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, 'have been quite positive'.

"We should not adopt any additional sanctions now," he warned.

Medvedev's remarks followed a Wednesday US Treasury Department announcement that Washington has imposed new unilateral financial sanctions against Iran.

The US envoy to the UN urged members of the Security Council on Thursday to approve the sanctions. Russia's envoy, however, responded that Moscow could decide for itself how to be vigilant about Iranian financial transactions.

In its latest anti-Iran measure, the Bush administration targeted Iran's main national carrier, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), accusing it of aiding the country's nuclear program.

Iran called the US move counterproductive and similar 'to other baseless US allegations' against Tehran.

Suffering from electricity shortage, Iran has been forced to adopt a rationing program by scheduling power outages - of up to two hours a day - across both urban and rural areas in the country.

In the past decade, Russia has helped Tehran in the construction of a 20,000-megawatt nuclear power plant in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr.

The construction of the plant has been delayed, according to Russia's envoy to Tehran, Alexander Sadovnikov, due to the 'sanctions imposed by Western powers'.

A source close to the Russian military said Sunday that Moscow is considering providing Iran with more nuclear assistance amid its escalating tensions with Washington over the August crisis in the Caucasus - which Russia says was orchestrated by the US.

Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East

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Israel irked by Iran-Russia military ties

Israel has urged Russia to turn a blind eye to its military deals with Georgia and to halt its sale of advanced weapons to Iran and Syria.

The Israeli appeal to Russia followed the conflict in the Caucasus which started with Georgia's military offensive into independence-seeking South Ossetia to reclaim the de-facto region.

Russia has accused the US and Israel of orchestrating the conflict and supporting Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in carrying out the assault.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, Israel has supplied the government of Saakashvili with $300 million in armaments, including sophisticated spy drones, rockets and equipment useful in modernizing combat jets.

Israel's ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, however, said Russia should not express its anger with Israel over its support of the Georgian government as a pretext for selling weapons to its 'adversaries'.

Meridor claims that Russian arms sales to Iran and Syria is 'destabilizing and dangerous for Israel.'

Intelligence officials maintain that the war of words between the Kremlin and the White House over the Caucasus crisis has prompted Russia to sell its missiles to both Iran and Syria.

Iran, however, has denied reports that it has purchased the advanced Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft defense system.

Israeli intelligence officials had earlier expressed worries that the system could further enhance Iran's defensive capabilities, which would complicate a possible attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

"We hope that, despite the events in Georgia, the Russians will not supply Iran with arms," Meridor said. "I hope the Russians know better. I don't see why anybody would perceive our relationship with Georgia to be in any way threatening or destabilizing."

Tel Aviv has threatened to launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has plans to develop nuclear weapons.

Russia, which marched its troops into South Ossetia to end the Georgian offensive, has expressed concern over Israel's arms sales to Georgia, saying such Israeli dealings will only fuel the crisis.

"Russia is against any military aid to Georgia and would like to see that country demilitarized," Evgeny Khorisko, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in the US, told the Washington Times.

... Payvand News - 09/13/08 ... --

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