Moscow A top Kremlin diplomat warned against threatening Iran with sanctions or the use of force, saying that would only aggravate the international standoff over Tehran's suspect nuclear program, Russian media reports said Saturday.
Rather than getting Iran to stop uranium enrichment, a tougher stance could result in Tehran's total refusal to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, said Oleg Ozerov, deputy director of the Foreign Ministry's Middle East and North Africa Department, according to ITAR-Tass.
"We firmly stand today for resolving the problems in and around Tehran diplomatically rather than militarily. Increasing international pressure on Iran has no prospects," Ozerov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
The United States and European allies are pushing for sanctions because of Iran's refusal to suspend its enrichment program, as demanded by the U.N. Security Council. They suspect Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons in violation of its treaty commitments.
The Iranian regime insists the program has only the peaceful purpose of generating electricity. Russia, which has close ties with Iran and is building that nation's first nuclear power plant, opposes sanctions.