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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:19, August 25, 2006
Russia deems sanctions on Iran "premature"
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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Friday that it is still "premature" to talk about imposing sanctions on Iran two days after it responded to the world powers' demand to freeze its uranium enrichment.

"It is at least premature and unsound to speak of sanctions" as of now, Ivanov told the ITAR-TASS, adding that the country will devote to a political and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin made similar comments, saying "Russia will continue with the idea of seeking a political, negotiated settlement concerning Iran's nuclear program."

Iran presented a 21-page formal response to an incentives package offered by the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany.

In the response, it offered ideas that would allow serious talks to start immediately and asked for a timeline to implement the incentives and specifics on possible security arrangements as promised by the six powers.

Iran has been in dread of a military attack from the United States.

The UN Security Council has warned Iran of possible sanctions if it does not meet an Aug. 31 deadline to freeze uranium enrichment, a process that can lead to the production of fuel for nuclear power plants or material for warheads.

So far, the Security Council has not given their verdict on Iran's reply.

Iran is suspected by the West of trying to produce nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear power program.

Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, says it needs to enrich uranium as a peaceful, alternative energy source and has the right to do so under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Source: Xinhua

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