Medvedev warns against 'dangerous rhetoric' over Iran
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Tuesday that Israeli threats to attack Iran over its nuclear programme were "extremely dangerous rhetoric" that could result in a "catastrophe".
"As for the militant statements, that Israel or somebody else is ready to use violence against Iran or against another country in the Middle East, that is extremely dangerous rhetoric," Medvedev told reporters on a visit to Berlin, speaking through an interpreter.
He called for calm from all parties, urging them to avoid threats, and added: "All this could lead to a very big conflict and that would be a catastrophe for the Middle East."
He was speaking at a joint press conference with German President Christian Wulff ahead of a ceremony to mark the launch of the Nord Stream pipeline pumping Russian gas to Western Europe.
Iran said Tuesday that the West had no serious proof it was developing nuclear weapons, ahead of a report by the UN atomic watchdog that is expected to provide new evidence against Tehran.
"During my last contact with Iranian officials, including the president, I received the assurance that they were preparing proof" showing they are not producing nuclear weapons and were ready to cooperate, Medvedev said.
"But unfortunately there has not been movement in this direction," he added.
Israeli President Shimon Peres warned on Saturday that a strike against Iran was becoming more likely.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cautioned Monday that a possible military strike against Iran would be a "very serious mistake" that would lead to further conflict and civilian casualties.
And Germany said Monday it would call for fresh "pressure" on Iran to comply with international commitments on its nuclear programme if the UN report reveals further defiance.
© 2011 AFP