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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Russian foreign minister says economic sanctions against Iran preclude military action; Israeli actions in Lebanon a 'prelude' to US war against Iran

Al-AP is reporting that Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said today that any economic sanctions imposed by the international community on Iran for its nuclear programs would preclude the use of military force. The Al-AP report is based on Russian news agencies.

Lavrov, who was speaking to reporters while accompanying Russian President Vladimir Putin on a state visit to South Africa, has also expanded the concept of 'proportionality' to include economic and not just military action:
"We'll decide whether or not to make use of these measures in a complex way, but guided by just one goal - to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Sergey Lavrov was quoted as saying Interfax. "We are also aware that economic pressure should be proportional to a real threat to peace and security."
Does this mean that Lavrov does not believe that Iranian nukes are a threat to peace and security?

What Lavrov notes above is the apparently official Russian interpretation of the UN Security Council resolution on sanctions from last week.
Meanwhile, talks meant to give Tehran a last chance to avoid UN sanctions over its nuclear defiance were postponed Wednesday, with a senior Iranian envoy saying "a procedural matter" had caused a delay of several days.

The United States and key European allies Britain and France had agreed to wait for the result of talks between the EU's top envoy and Iran's top nuclear negotiator in an attempt to mollify both Moscow and Beijing.

In Moscow, a top Kremlin aide said Tuesday that Russia remained reluctant to impose sanctions on Iran, although this did not imply support for a nuclear-armed Iran.
The longer the Iranians obfuscate, the more likely it is that they will have nukes.

Meanwhile, with Lavrov scheduled to begin a visit to the Middle East tomorrow that includes Israel, Vladimir Trofimov, deputy head of the foreign ministry's Middle East department, said in a statement to the Interfax news agency that the United States used Israel's attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon as a prelude to "settling accounts" with Iran.
"If we look at Israeli and U.S. plans, they aim at removing the Hezbollah factor ahead of the forthcoming U.S. settling of accounts with Iran," Trofimov said.

"This was a U.S.-Israeli conflict with the Islamic world, in which Iran has become a de-facto leader," he added. Trofimov, who has a record of making off-the-cuff remarks, was speaking at an informal round table discussion in Moscow.
Those remarks could have come right out of the cold war. But I doubt Lavrov would disagree with them. Look at what Lavrov has to say about Hezbullah:
In a newspaper interview published on Wednesday, he implicitly criticized Israel's calls to destroy Hezbollah and said it should instead be engaged in political dialogue.

"Hezbollah is a part of the Shi'ite community in Lebanon," Lavrov told government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
I'm beginning to wonder whether Iran is acting as a proxy for Russia. We already know that they are allied with China.


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