Iran`s President criticises Russian support for sanctions

Russia has backed tough draft UN sanctions resolution against Iran, said US.

Tehran: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticised Russia on Sunday for supporting further UN Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, the ISNA news agency reported.

"If I was in the place of Russian officials, I would adopt a more careful stance," the agency quoted him as saying after a cabinet meeting.

The United States this week succeeded in forging a compromise with the other four permanent members of the Security Council for a fourth round of sanctions against Iran for its defiance in refusing to halt uranium enrichment.

That process can be used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors, but in highly refined form, enriched uranium can be used to make an atomic weapon.

Tehran denies charges by the big powers that it has a covert atomic arms programme.

Washington said that both Russia and China had backed a tough draft UN sanctions resolution against Iran.

It came a day after Brazil and Turkey -- non-permanent Security Council members -- signed a deal in Tehran for it to ship much of its low enriched uranium (LEU) abroad in exchange for fuel for a research reactor.

"We had expected that a friendly neighbouring state would defend the Tehran Declaration," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying of Russia yesterday.

The fourth round of sanctions would expand an existing arms embargo, measures against Iran`s banking sector and ban it from mining uranium and developing ballistic missiles overseas, according to a US official in New York.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave a cautious welcome to the Tehran accord.

"This is the politics of a diplomatic solution to the Iran problem," he said. "We need to have consultations with all the parties, including Iran, and then determine what to do next."

Russia is building Iran`s first nuclear power plant in the city of Bushehr, where the facility is expected to go online by August regardless of any new UN sanctions against Tehran, a top Russian atomic official said on Thursday.

Construction of the Bushehr plant began in the mid-1990s, but its launch has been marred by a series of delays, not least the standoff over Iran`s nuclear activities.

PTI

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