Russian FM suggests opposition to Iran sanctions

Russia's foreign minister suggested Wednesday that Moscow would oppose sanctions against Iran as a way of forcing its compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty because such measures rarely achieve their goals. Sergey Lavrov told reporters that the International Atomic Energy Agency must stay in the lead on Iran and be allowed to keep working inside the country. It was a clear indication that Russia does not want the UN Security Council heavily involved in the Iran issue. After Lavrov spoke, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council gathered to discuss proposals for a possible statement that would likely be delivered next week. A council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Britain had proposed that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei report back in two weeks about Iran's progress toward compliance with IAEA resolutions. The diplomat spoke anonymously because the council still has not made elements of its statement public. The British Mission to the UN refused to comment, but several envoys have said Britain, France and the United States want some reference to the IAEA board's lack of confidence in Tehran's nuclear intentions.