Iran not an enemy of Russia: Minister

A Russian minister said Iran was his country`s neighbour, and that Moscow treats its neighbour "carefully".

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2012, 08:58 AM IST

Moscow: Russia does not consider Iran an enemy, but opposes the country`s development of nuclear arms, a Russian minister has said.

Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said Iran was Russia`s neighbour, and that Moscow treats its neighbour "carefully", Xinhua reported.

However, he stressed that Russia was committed to a non-proliferation regime.

"Russia is not interested in the emergence of new nuclear missile threats on the perimeter of its borders. This is a fundamental stance of Russia, and this is a matter of principle for us," Antonov said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has warned against a possible military scenario in Iran.

He said there was still potential to settle the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiations.

"All possibilities for negotiations have not been used yet. It is necessary to reach an agreement and we`re dealing with it," Ryabkov said.

"Diplomacy is better than a war. Talks are better than bomb strikes," he said.

He said a meeting between Iran and six international mediators -- Russia, US, France, Britain, China and Germany -- will likely be held in April, but the date and the place have not been fixed yet.

IANS