Russia warns Israel not to attack Iran (REUTERS) By Alexei Anishchuk MOSCOW, RUSSIA 02/22/12 3:03pm EST)
Reuters News Service
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(Reuters) - Russia warned Israel on Wednesday that attacking Iran
would be a disastrous and played down the failure of a U.N. nuclear
agency mission to Tehran, saying there is still a chance for new
talks over the Iranian atomic program.
"Of course any possible military scenario against Iran will be
catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international
relations," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told a news
It was one of Russia´s starkest warnings against resorting to force,
an option Israel and the United States have not ruled out if they
conclude that diplomacy and increasing sanctions will not stop Iran
from developing a nuclear bomb.
"I hope Israel understands all these consequences ... and they should
also consider the consequences of such action for themselves,"
Gatilov said. "I hope a realistic approach will prevail, along with a
Russia, China as well as many allies of the United States are
concerned that any military action against Iran could engulf the
Middle East in wider war, which would send oil prices rocketing at a
time of global economic troubles.
Iran has threatened to retaliate for any attack, or even if it feels
endangered, by closing the Strait of Hormuz, the conduit for Gulf oil
exports crucial to the global economy, and hitting Israel and U.S.
interests in the Middle East.
Tehran has refused to stop sensitive nuclear work such as uranium
enrichment despite four rounds of U.N. sanctions and a slew of
additional measures imposed by the United States and the European
Union, which fear Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons.
The Islamic Republic says its efforts to produce nuclear fuel are
solely for electricity generation.
IAEA-IRAN TALKS GO NOWHERE
The failure of two days of talks between Iran and senior
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials, who were refused
access to a military site where they believe Iran tested explosives
of use in nuclear weapons, dimmed the chances of Western powers
agreeing to renew broader negotiations with Iran.
A warning from Iran´s clerical supreme leader on Wednesday, hours
after the Tehran talks concluded, that no obstacle would derail
Iran´s nuclear course added to tensions.
Gatilov suggested that Iran should be more cooperative but there is
more room for diplomacy. He said Iran´s discussions with Russia,
China, the United States, Britain, France and Germany, frozen for a
year, could still be revived.
"Iran and IAEA should boost their dialogue in order to rule out
the ... possibility of the existence of military dimensions in the
Iranian nuclear program. We hope that this dialogue will be
continued," he said.
"I think we still have opportunity to continue diplomatic efforts, to
renew the six-nation talks."
Russia, which built Iran´s first nuclear power plant, has often
stressed the need for talks and that too much coercive pressure on
Iran is counterproductive, a stance that has prompted concerns Moscow
has helped Tehran play for time.
Last week, Russia said global powers must be serious about proposing
solutions Iran might accept, warning that Tehran´s desire for
compromise was waning as it moved closer to being technically capable
of building atomic weapons. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Writing
by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Mark Heinrich) (© Thomson Reuters
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