Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated that Moscow would not support tough sanctions against Iran in a draft UN resolution seeking to punish Tehran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, news agencies reported.
Russia has not ruled out sanctions against Iran but repeatedly has warned that harsh measures could harden Tehran's defiance and scuttle chances for a negotiated end to the prolonged standoff over its nuclear program.
"We cannot support measures that in essence are aimed at isolating Iran from the outside world, including isolating people who are called upon to conduct negotiations on the nuclear program," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying Wednesday.
Lavrov also reiterated his claim that the draft UN Security Council resolution goes beyond existing agreements seeking to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"The draft ... goes far outside the framework of agreements," Interfax quoted him as saying.