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. Iran sanctions 'counterproductive,' says Russia's Lavrov
MOSCOW, Oct 15 (AFP) Oct 15, 2008
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Wednesday said unilateral sanctions against Iran would be "counterproductive" in efforts to force Tehran to suspend its sensitive nuclear fuel work.

Russia is of the view that the "politics of adopting unilateral and anti-Iranian sanctions espoused by some countries is counterproductive," the ministry said in a statement.

Lavrov articulated this view when he met with Howard Berman, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the US House of Representatives, the statement said.

The United States and its European allies had pushed for new, tougher sanctions against Tehran but ran into resistance from Russia -- among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- and China.

The West and Israel have accused Iran of using its nuclear programme as a cover to build nuclear arms. But Tehran insists its programme is strictly peaceful and solely aimed at generating electricity.

The UN Security Council has slapped three rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, a process which can be used to make the fissile material for a nuclear bomb.

But Tehran says it has a right to enrich uranium to make nuclear fuel as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and denies allegations of seeking atomic weapons.

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