Russia's foreign minister made clear ahead of high-level talks Friday on Iran's nuclear program that Moscow wants to see a report from the UN nuclear agency on Tehran's past suspicious nuclear work before considering new sanctions.
Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice exchanged sharp words at a luncheon Wednesday when Rice pushed for tough new sanctions to pressure Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, and Lavrov said Moscow wanted to given nuclear inspectors time to do their job, according to the Russian minister and US and European officials present.
The Russian and US ministers will have another chance to spar over nuclear policy toward Iran at a meeting Friday morning of the six key international players trying to negotiate with Iran. The Chinese, British, French and German foreign ministers were also expected to attend.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Thursday that Russia and China refuse to discuss possible new sanctions against Iran until the UN nuclear agency reports on Tehran's disclosure of its past activities at the end of the year.