‘Strike on Iran would be disaster’

Medvedev: Israel-Iran war could become nuclear; lukewarm on sanctions.

April 12, 2010 20:03
1 minute read.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (AP)

MEDVEDEV 311. (photo credit: AP)

An Israeli military strike against Iran would be a global catastrophe, Russian President Medvedev said Monday.

Speaking to ABC, the Russian president said the conflict could escalate into a nuclear one, and in the populous Middle East it would be a disaster leading to a stream of refugees into Russia’s sphere of influence.

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“It would be the worst possible scenario if a conflict of that kind happens, and a strike is performed, then you can expect anything, including use of nuclear weapons. And nuclear strikes in the Middle East, this means a global catastrophe. Many deaths,” he said.

In September, Medvedev gave an interview in which he confirmed a secret visit to by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had taken place and said he had received assurances Israel would not strike. Asked if he was as certain now, he said he had good relationships with both President Shimon Peres and the prime minister.

He added, however, that “those are independent people. And I would say that on many questions they are defending stubborn positions. Very tough. And the US has seen the proof of that lately.”

Asked if he was referring to the issue of settlements, he said that “in many instances the Israeli position, including settlements, remained the same even after an open and honest talk with the US, and we have spoken to them also.”

The Russian president said that Iran's nuclear program must be watched closely, but he stressed that sanctions on the regime would have to be smart and effective because sanctions often don't work. He said trade sanctions, such as arms trade, should be considered.

"They should not lead to humanitarian catastrophe, where the whole Iranian community would start to hate the whole world," the Russian president said, suggesting the Iranian regime used hate of the West to consolidate popular support.

He added that there was no global consensus for sanctions on Iran's petroleum industry.

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