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. Russian FM warns military action on Iran 'disastrous'
TEL AVIV, March 20 (AFP) Mar 20, 2008
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday warned that any military means to solve Iran's controversial nuclear programme would have a "disastrous" effect.

"Any forceful attempts to resolve this issue by non-peaceful means would undermine all that has been done to bring clarity into the Iranian nuclear programme," Lavrov said in a press conference with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni.

He warned against attempts to undermine the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection of Tehran's programme.

"As long as the inspectors report that they have not found that there is some deviation of this programme into the military field I think it would be disastrous for us to undermine this very efficient and important process."

Israel and its chief ally the United States have refused to rule out military action against Iran in order to halt its nuclear programme, which they believe is aimed at developing a nuclear bomb, a claim denied by Tehran.

Israel considers Iran its top enemy following repeated calls by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.

Widely considered to be the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, Israel and Washington suspect Tehran of trying to develop atomic arms under the guise of its nuclear programme, a charge Iran denies.

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