Russia not ruling out Iran sanctions

But Kremlin skeptical of West

Associated Press / September 24, 2009

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MOSCOW - Russian leaders are not ruling out new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, Russian news agencies cited an official in the nation’s delegation in New York as saying yesterday.

The reports were the first indication that Russia could support additional measures to punish Iran for its defiance of the global community, which is demanding it halt uranium enrichment and reveal all information about its nuclear activities.

Russia and five other global powers are meeting at the United Nations ahead of planned talks with Iran on Oct. 1 - the first since 2008.

President Obama last week said he would scrap US missile defense plans that angered the Kremlin. Moscow had not appeared to be moving closer to the US position on Iran in response.

RIA-Novosti, ITAR-Tass, and Interfax all cited an unidentified member of the Russian delegation in New York, where President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were attending the UN General Assembly.

“We do not rule out participation in working out new UN Security Council decisions on questions of sanctions in relation to Iran, if there are objective grounds,’’ state-run RIA-Novosti quoted the official as saying.

The official suggested, however, that Russia would not rush to judgment against Iran and would be skeptical of Western arguments for sanctions.