Russia: Iran sanctions would 'increase tension'

Moscow opposes new UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations said today, warning that new punitive measures could increase tension and would probably be counterproductive.

Moscow opposes new UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations said today, warning that new punitive measures could increase tension and would probably be counterproductive.

Vitaly Churkin also cautioned against haste in efforts to resolve the dispute over Kosovo’s status, emphasising that talks should continue if Serbia and Kosovo’s leadership cannot reach a mutually acceptable agreement by a December deadline.

Churkin’s remarks – made via a video link to Moscow from the United Nations - set out positions in opposition to the United States, which favours a new round of sanctions against Iran and backs Kosovo’s demand for independence.

They came two days before the permanent UN Security Council members – the US, Britain, China, France and Russia – plus Germany meet in Washington to discuss Iran, which the US and others say is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

“We can expect certain members of the sextet to come out with a suggestion that the Security Council adopt – maybe even in the nearest future – a new, sensational resolution in connection with Iran’s nuclear programme,” Churkin said.

“We can adopt one sensational resolution after another – every week even – but the question is whether this brings progress toward resolving this extraordinarily complex problem,” he said.

Churkin said Russia favours a broader effort.

“All this must lead to a resolution of the problem through political and diplomatic means, and not to increasing tensions – whether by adopting a new resolution of a sensational nature or, even more so, with discussions or the development of plans, God forbid, for military action against Iran,” he said.

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