Iran sanctions 'ineffective': Putin
Russia is working closely with other states to ease concern over Iran's nuclear programme but views sanctions like those expected to be approved by the UN on Wednesday as ineffective, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told AFP.
"Sanctions are basically ineffective," Putin said in an interview two days ahead of the vote by the UN Security Council likely to slap a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran over lingering questions about its nuclear intentions.
Speaking late Monday in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi, Putin asserted that past experience had demonstrated that imposing sanctions was no substitute for resolving core problems with the behaviour of individual states.
"International practice knows perfectly well how these sanctions work. And what? Do you know of a single case where they were effective?"
Russia, which is building Iran's first nuclear power station, says its geographical proximity to Iran give it more reason than most to monitor Tehran's nuclear activities closely.
Moscow has called repeatedly on the Iranian leadership to cooperate fully with the UN nuclear watchdog, but has also resisted use of sanctions as a tool for encouraging Iran to cooperate more fully in resolving questions about its nuclear programme.
President Dmitry Medvedev however signalled last year however that Russia, having been rebuffed itself in repeated efforts to ease worries about Iran's nuclear activities, was having a change of heart on sanctions.
The United States has steadfastly argued in favour of fresh sanctions on Iran however and Putin confirmed that Moscow was also interested in working closely with other states within the United Nations to resolve the problem.
"We are ready, together with the entire international community, to seek a resolution to Iranian nuclear problems and we will move down this path together," Putin said.
Speaking Tuesday in Istanbul, Putin however said the new sanctions "should not be excessive and should not put the Iranian people in a complicated position which would put up barriers on the path to peaceful nuclear energy."
He pointed to North Korea as another example of where international sanctions failed to compel Pyongyang to abandon its secret nuclear weapons programme.
"At some point in the application of sanctions the North Korean leadership announced that it had acquired nuclear weapons. And so what was the purpose of all these sanctions?"
© 2010 AFP