Press TV
Tuesday, Oct 13th, 2009

The Russian foreign minister says threatening Iran with new sanctions over its nuclear activities will only prove ‘counterproductive’.

In a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Moscow, Sergei Lavrov said neither Russia nor the US were after imposing sanctions against Iran under the current circumstances.

“Our position is that at this stage all efforts should be made to support the negotiating process,” Lavrov said. “Sanctions and the threat of pressure in the current situation are counterproductive in our view.”

Clinton praised Moscow for its ‘extremely cooperative’ behavior regarding Iran’s nuclear issue, saying Washington would hold back from pressuring for nuclear sanctions against Tehran.

Despite the non-divergence of Iran’s nuclear program from civilian purposes has been confirmed in several reports by the UN nuclear watchdog, Iran has so far come under three rounds of sanctions by the UN Security Council over its nuclear work.

Clinton will later meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who said last month in New York that sanctions on Iran might become inevitable.

Lavrov said Russia was ‘in principle very reserved on sanctions, as they rarely produce results’.

He added that sanctions should only be used in the absence of diplomatic means but stressed that ‘in the situation with Iran, this is far from the case’.

Lavrov said Moscow and Washington had the same stance on the issue, adding, “We are not asking anything of each other on Iran, because it would be ridiculous to make requests on an issue where our positions coincide.”

Clinton agreed that imposing new sanctions on Iran were not yet inevitable, but said Washington would ‘be seeking to rally international opinion’ in favor of imposing sanctions if there is no ’significant progress and assurances that Iran isn’t pursuing nuclear weapons’.

Tehran has repeatedly rejected Western allegations that it has a secret nuclear weapons program.

Iran, whose nuclear program has been under close inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destructions from across the globe.