(photo credit: Associated Press)
Russia on Thursday said that Iran must respect an Aug. 31 deadline set by the UN Security Council for it to suspend uranium enrichment in order to avoid further steps against it.
In a terse statement apparently reflecting impatience in Moscow at the Iranian government's rejection of the Security Council demands, the Russian Foreign Ministry reminded Iran that as a member of the United Nations it had to implement Security Council resolutions.
"We are counting on Iran to heed the appeals made to it so that no further actions by the UN Security Council will be required," the statement said.
The Security Council passed a resolution Monday urging Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment by Aug. 31 or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.
The United States and some of its allies suspect Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Teheran maintains its program is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity. Enriched uranium can be used in both atomic bombs and civilian reactors.
But Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected the deadline, saying Tuesday that Tehran would not be pressured into stopping its nuclear program.
Russia as well as China - both veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council which have strong commercial ties with Iran - have so far resisted Western proposals to sanction Teheran.