Russia rules out new sanctions against Iran

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Russia on Wednesday ruled out backing new sanctions against Iran despite the publication of a tough UN report on the Islamic state's suspected nuclear weapons programme.

"Any additional sanctions against Iran will be interpreted by the international community as a means of changing the regime in Tehran," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told Interfax.

"This approach is unacceptable to us, and Russia does not intend to review this proposal," he said, without specifying if Moscow would actually veto further sanctions.

Russia has backed four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against its close Soviet-era trade partner while resisting the most crippling measures that could directly impact the two sides' military and energy ties.

It also condemned Israel for warning over the weekend that it was getting closer to launching a military strike on Iran for its suspected efforts to devlop a nuclear bomb.

The senior Russia diplomat made clear that Moscow was not ready to move beyond the steps approved by the Security Council in June 2010.

"Whatever is proposed to the Security Council outside the frameworks of this resolution has nothing to do with strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime," Gatilov said.

© 2011 AFP

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