Russian FM calls for US 'flexibility' on Iran

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday urged the United States to foster a resolution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program by showing the same "flexibility" that helped produce North Korea's agreement to halt its atomic programs, Russian news agencies reported. The remarks were the latest call for a softer US stance on Iran from Russia, which has repeatedly warned that punishing Iran too harshly for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment would be counterproductive, and followed vocal criticism by President Vladimir Putin of US foreign policy. "I will note the efforts by the American side, perhaps in some way against its own will, making reasonable compromises with Pyongyang and by doing so allowing blockage of the six-nation talks to be removed," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying. "We would like to see the same flexibility ... in relation to the Iranian nuclear program, where probably something similar could be done _ focusing not on defending the prestige of one's position but on the basis of professional assessments," RIA-Novosti quoted him as saying during a flight from India to Abu-Dhabi.