Moscow: Iran is quite close to acquiring
nuclear weapons potential, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
said Monday, but insisted that the capability per se does not
amount to a violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Medvedev called for continuation of dialogue with
Tehran on the issue of its controversial nuclear programme and
suggested that sanctions might not yield desired results.
"Sanctions, as a rule, do not produce desired results,
what we need is patience and earliest resumption of a
productive dialogue with Tehran," Medvedev told a conference
of Russian ambassadors in world capitals.
"If the diplomacy misses this chance, it would be our
collective failure," Medvedev cautioned.
He conceded that Iran is nearing potentials, which may
be used in principle to create nuclear weapons, but pointed
out that this potential by itself is not a violation of NPT,
ITAR TASS said.
"But this capability in itself is not a violation of
NPT," Medvedev declared.
Russia last month voted along with other major powers
in favour of fresh sanctions against Iran in the UN Security
Council, which approved a resolution to penalise individuals
and entities linked to its nuclear programme.
Medvedev, however, admitted that Iran "is behaving in
a far from the best manner".
"We are consistently urging Tehran to show essential
openness and cooperation with the IAEA," Medvedev said.
Western powers accuse Iran of running a covert nuclear
programme, but Tehran has denied the claims and maintained
that its atomic programme was strictly civilian in nature.