Putin: Iran nuclear issue must be settled peacefully (CNN) Cable News Network) By Ed Payne 02/27/12)
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(CNN) -- The consequences of a military strike against Iran would be
disastrous, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrote in a wide-
ranging editorial Monday.
"Russia is worried about the growing threat of a military strike
against Iran," Putin said in an editorial carried by the RIA Novosti
news agency. "If this happens, the consequences will be disastrous.
It is impossible to imagine the true scope of this turn of events."
The former Russian president, who is running for the post again, said
he´s convinced the issue must be settled by peaceful means.
"We propose recognizing Iran´s right to develop a civilian nuclear
program, including the right to enrich uranium," Putin said. "But
this must be done in exchange for putting all Iranian nuclear
activity under reliable and comprehensive IAEA safeguards."
If that is done, Putin said, sanctions against Tehran must be lifted.
Iran is under intense international pressure to demonstrate that it
has no intention of pursuing nuclear weapons, with widespread Western
sanctions targeting its financial and oil sectors. Crude oil sales
make up about half of Tehran´s revenue.
Both Russia and China have been reluctant to back tougher U.N.
Security Council sanctions against Iran.
On another international hot spot, Putin said a "Libyan scenario"
should not be employed in Syria.
"The key objective is to prevent an all-out civil war." he
said. "Russian diplomacy has worked and will continue to work toward
Russia abstained from a Security Council vote last year that cleared
the way for airstrikes against forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar
"Sadder but wiser, we oppose the adoption of UN Security Council
resolutions that may be interpreted as a signal to armed interference
in Syria´s domestic development," Putin said. "Guided by this
consistent approach in early February, Russia and China prevented the
adoption of an ambiguous resolution that would have encouraged one
side of this domestic conflict to resort to violence."
Putin´s editorial comes a week ahead of this Sunday´s presidential
Putin handed over the presidency to ally Dmitry Medvedev in 2008,
when he was barred from seeking a third consecutive term. After
spending four years as prime minister, he announced in December that
he would seek the presidency again.
Putin has dominated Russian politics since 1999, and human rights
groups say civil liberties and democratic freedoms have suffered
during his rule. But opponents took to the streets by the thousands
after his United Russia party won a narrow majority in December
parliamentary elections that monitors from the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe said were "slanted in favor of the
The leading opposition candidate in the March 3 vote is Russia´s
third-richest man, billionaire New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail
Critics of Putin showed up in the thousands on Sunday in a show of
strength ahead of the election. They attempted to complete a circuit
of Moscow´s 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) "Garden Ring" road, but fell
RIA Novosti quoted police as saying 11,000 people turned out Sunday,
far below the estimated 34,000 needed to complete the human chain. (©
2012 Cable News Network 02/27/12)
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