UN sanctions against Iran 'exhausted': Russia envoy
Russia believes new UN sanctions against Iran's nuclear program are no longer possible, Moscow's UN envoy said Friday condemning "threats" being made against Tehran and Syria by the West.
"We believe that the sanctions track in the Security Council has been exhausted," ambassador Vitaly Churkin told a press conference when asked about possible action against Iran.
"We continue to believe very strongly that negotiations should continue with Iran."
The European Union and United States have both ordered new sanctions against Iran after International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report said there were "credible" signs of military dimensions to Iran's nuclear drive.
Russia was "upset" with the report, Churkin said, adding the IAEA analysis had been "played up more as a PR exercise than a serious nuclear effort."
Russia has signed up so far to four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran's nuclear and missile programs. Russia and China have made it known however that they oppose new measures.
But Churkin said "we believe that the negotiated track can be resumed" and his country had made repeated attempts to get contacts restarted between Iran and the international group on the nuclear showdown: Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
The envoy said the West had to pull back from confrontation with Iran and Syria.
"The confrontation scenario is being played out not only with regard to Syria but with regard to Iran as well. All those threats and insinuations of possible military action against Iran, they don't help at all."
Western diplomats say that despite the IAEA report on Iran it could take months to get talk of new action in the Security Council. Russia and China vetoed a European resolution in October condemning the Syrian government's crackdown on opposition protests.
© 2011 AFP