AFP: Russia is ready to support new UN sanctions against Iran if Tehran does not change tack on its nuclear programme, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told journalists on Wednesday. MOSCOW (AFP) Russia is ready to support new UN sanctions against Iran if Tehran does not change tack on its nuclear programme, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told journalists on Wednesday.
Asked if Russia would support sanctions, he said: “Yes. If Iran in the next few days does not change it’s position…. Russia as a member of the group of six will take on the responsibility to support the UN resolution.”
In his comments, made via a video conference from New York, Churkin referred to the six powers conducting talks on Iran’s nuclear programme: the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany.
Churkin stressed that Russia had in mind clearly targeted sanctions, not aimed at hurting Iran’s economy but at specific companies involved in the nuclear industry.
“It’s not punishment. We’re talking about a strategy to express the displeasure of the international community at the lack of a political reaction from Iran,” he said.
Western powers have stepped up efforts to impose a third set of UN Security Council sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme in response to Tehran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a potential weapons-making process.
Moscow has relatively close ties with Iran, while its southern border is separated from Iran by just a few hundred kilometres of territory in the Caucasus region.
Western powers worry that Iran may be trying to develop a nuclear weapons programme under cover of its stated goal of developing civilian nuclear power.
Iran denies having any such weapons programme.
Russia has been supplying nuclear fuel for a nuclear power station that Moscow is building at Bushehr in the Islamic republic, and is committed to also removing spent fuel.