PRETORIA, February 12 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow believes that unilateral sanctions against Iran will only make the resolution of the country’s nuclear issue more difficult, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.
“Threats, unilateral sanctions are only making things worse,” he said after talks with his South African counterpart, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, adding that “a creative, forward-looking approach is needed here.”
Speaking about the upcoming new round of talks between Iran and a group of international mediators on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program in Alma-Ata on February 26, Lavrov said the discussion will concern uranium enrichment.
A UN Security Council resolution requires that Iran freeze its enrichment activities, Lavrov said, adding that the enrichment process is currently overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Iran and the group of countries comprising Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, known as P5+1, have held three rounds of talks over the Iranian nuclear issue last year, following a one-year break in negotiations. These talks, however, did not lead to a breakthrough, as the sides cannot agree on the true nature of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives under the guise of its peaceful nuclear energy program. Iran rejects these allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the slow pace of nuclear talks with Iran, and stressed the need for the new meeting to be held as soon as possible.