‘Strike on Iran would be disaster’

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

MEDVEDEV 311 (photo credit: AP)
(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.
“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 “inmany instances the Israeli position, including settlements, remainedthe same even after an open and honest talk with the US, and we havespoken to them also.”
The Russian president said that Iran'snuclear program must be watched closely, but he stressed that sanctionson the regime would have to be smart and effective because sanctionsoften don't work. He said trade sanctions, such as arms trade, shouldbe considered.
"They should not lead to humanitariancatastrophe, where the whole Iranian community would start to hate thewhole world," the Russian president said, suggesting the Iranian regimeused hate of the West to consolidate popular support.
He added that there was no global consensus for sanctions on Iran's petroleum industry.