Strasbourg: Russia`s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted on Thursday that Iran was a "difficult partner" and warned targeted sanctions over its contested nuclear programme may become "unavoidable".
"Iran is a difficult partner and we are disappointed (it) has not responded constructively to the proposals reiterated" by world powers over its nuclear ambitions, Lavrov told the Council of Europe`s parliamentary assembly.
"There are few examples where sanctions have produced truly positive results," said the Russian minister, whose country is considering whether to back further United Nations sanctions against Iran.
In Iran`s case, however, "they may be unavoidable, and that will be up to the Security Council to decide," Lavrov said.
"In that case, the only goal must be to incite Tehran to solve all the problems surrounding its programme... and not to use sanctions to suffocate Iran, which would create a humanitarian crisis," he said.
The Russian diplomat firmly ruled out using force against Tehran, after a Swedish lawmaker at the Council raised the possibility of armed intervention.
"To say that now we have to resort to force against Iran, that to me seems absolutely unacceptable," Lavrov said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this week launched one of his strongest attacks on Iran`s conduct in the nuclear crisis, accusing it of behaving irresponsibly.