Moscow Urges Dialogue as West Pushes for Sanctions against Iran

A00985211.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Russia yesterday called for more negotiations with Iran as US vowed to pursue sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he hoped “negotiations with Iran will continue,” even as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice backed by strong NATO and EU backing for fresh UN sanctions held talks with him.

The statements come in the wake of an important US intelligence report that stressed Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

Rice alleged that the report shows that international pressure caused Iran to change tack in the past and would do so again.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said “unanimity” emerged in Brussels that Iran could choose between benefitting from international political and economic incentives or face further sanctions.

France pushed for continued negotiations to tighten international sanctions against Iran, and said its concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program were not allayed by new report.

France also reiterated its call for European companies to freeze new investment in Iran and for banks to reduce their exposure there.

Meanwhile, US President George Bush called China and held telephonic conversation with President Hu Jintao and discussed Iran.

China later said that “its consistent position is to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations, maintain regional peace and stability conforms to the common interests of all sides.”

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