Putin deplores Iranian calls for destruction of Israel
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
warned against hastily imposing sanctions on Iran, but in a rare note
of criticism he has also deplored Iranian calls for the destruction of
Israel, according to remarks released by the Kremlin on Tuesday.
Putin, speaking on
Saturday at a meeting with foreign political scholars, said that
additional consultations were necessary to decide whether to proceed
with sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment program. "It would
be better if we can avoid any sanctions altogether," Putin said in
remarks which were posted on the Kremlin Web site.
He said that Russia and other nations were urging
Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment effort, but added that the
Iranians have the right to acquire state-of-the art technologies.
"In that sense, they don’t differ from Brazil or
South Africa. But we must understand that neither Brazil, nor South
Africa are setting the goal to destroy another state and are writing
about it in their constitutions," he said in an apparent reference to
Iranian leaders’ repeated threats to destroy Israel. "Regrettably, the
Iranian leaders are talking publicly about it, and that doesn’t help
international security or the foreign policy of the Iranian state
Putin’s remarks reflected the Kremlin’s apparent
frustration with Iran’s stubborn refusal to bow to international demand
to abandon its uranium enrichment which Western nations feared could
lead to developing nuclear weapons, reports AP.
At the same time, Russia, a permanent member of the
U.N. Security Council, has been reluctant to support the United States’
call for sanctions against Iran, an important economic partner.
Russia is building a nuclear power plant in Bushehr,
Iran, to which the United States long objected, saying the plant could
be used by Iran to produce fissionable material for weapons. Russia
eventually worked out a deal with Iran for all the plant’s spent fuel
to be sent to Russia, eliminating the possibility that Iran could
reprocess it for weapons.