Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the United States to foster a resolution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme by showing the same “flexibility” that helped produce North Korea’s agreement to halt its atomic programmes.
The remarks were the latest call for a softer U.S. stance on Iran from Russia, which has repeatedly warned that punishing Iran too harshly for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment would be counterproductive, and followed vocal criticism by President Vladimir Putin of US foreign policy.
“I will note the efforts by the American side, perhaps in some way against its own will, making reasonable compromises with Pyongyang and by doing so allowing blockage of the six-nation talks to be removed,” Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying.
“We would like to see the same flexibility ... in relation to the Iranian nuclear programme, where probably something similar could be done — focusing not on defending the prestige of one’s position but on the basis of professional assessments,” RIA-Novosti quoted him as saying during a flight from India to Abu-Dhabi.
While both the United States and Russian approved a UN Security Council resolution late last year imposing sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment —a process Washington believes is part of an effort to develop nuclear weapons — differences between the former Cold War foes have hampered efforts to efforts to resolve the issue.
Lavrov also criticized Tehran’s stubbornness, saying: “I cannot praise our Iranian partners for their reaction to the position of the international community,” but he repeated Russia’s emphasis on the need for a negotiated solution.