In These New Times

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‘Russia makes no deal on Iran with US’

Posted by seumasach on July 14, 2009


14th July, 2009

Russia will not back tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities in exchange for a new arms cuts deal with the US, a foreign ministry official says.

Last week, US President Barack Obama’s nuclear adviser, Gary Samore, suggested that Russia could drop its opposition to tougher sanctions against Iran if a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was agreed.

“There are no reasons to link these issues or count on Russia being more cooperative in toughening sanctions against Iran if there is progress in talks with the United States on further cuts in strategic offensive weapons,” the Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed Russian foreign ministry spokesman as saying on Tuesday.

The official said that such a link was ‘completely groundless’, and added, “Any exchange between these two problems, which are utterly different in fact and format, is inadmissible.”

Obama met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev last week in Moscow, where the two presidents vowed to work on a new pact to replace the 1991 START-1 pact, which expires in December.

The US and Russia, which are both members of the UN Security Council, have been at loggerheads over US plans to deploy elements of its anti-missile system in Europe — which Washington claims is to counter threats from Iran.

Obama has said the US could drop plans for deploying the European elements of the missile shield if Iran halts its nuclear program, which the West claims is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has categorically denied the allegations, saying as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has a right to have a nuclear program for peaceful purposes.

Interfax quoted the Russian official as saying that there were ‘no ongoing discussions among the UN Security Council powers about future sanctions on Iran’.

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