Russian support for sanctions "not acceptable"-Iran

Nov 30, -0001
TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday Russian support for new U.N. sanctions against Iran was unacceptable and called on President Dmitry Medvedev to rethink his support for Washington's stance.

Iran was snubbed by Russia and China last week when, just hours after it offered to ship some of its enriched uranium abroad, Washington announced that all five members of the U.N. Security Council backed a new sanctions draft.

In an unusually strong criticism of the Russian government, Ahmadinejad used a televised outdoor speech to directly address Medvedev who, he said, had bowed to U.S. pressure to support the sanctions move.

"If I were the Russian president, when making decisions about subjects related to a great nation (Iran) ... I would act more cautiously, I would think more," Ahmadinejad said.

"The Iranian nation doesn't know: are they (the Russians) our friends and neighbours? Are they with us or are they looking for something else?"

"We shouldn't see, at sensitive times, our neighbour (Russia) supporting those who have been against us, have shown animosity to us for 30 years," he said in a reference to the United States, which has led a global diplomatic drive for new sanctions.

"This is not acceptable for the Iranian nation. I hope they (Russia) will pay attention and take corrective action."

"I am hopeful that Russian leaders and authorities will pay attention to these friendly words and take corrective action and not let the Iranian nation consider them among the ranks of its historic enemies," he said.

Ahmadinejad said the nuclear fuel swap agreed with Turkey and Brazil last week and presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday was a "historic opportunity" to break the deadlock with the West over Iran's nuclear programme that U.S. President Barack Obama should seize.

"It is unlikely that in future the Iranian nation will give a new opportunity to Mr Obama," he said.

Washington and many European countries are concerned that Iran's uranium enrichment is aimed at attaining nuclear weapons capability. Iran says it is for purely peaceful purposes and says it has a sovereign right to pursue nuclear technology.

Western critics of the deal with Turkey and Brazil say it would still leave Iran with enough material for one bomb, if enriched to high purity, and that it does not address Iran's continuing enrichment programme. SAMAA



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