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Russian President Hints At Cooperation On Iran Sanctions

by @ 7:09 am on September 24, 2009. Filed under Foreign Affairs, Iran, Russia

Hard to say whether this is a result of the missile defense decision or not, but it’s certainly a positive development:

NEW YORK (AP) — Giving some ground on a top priority of President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that sanctions are rarely productive but he opened the door to tougher ones to halt Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

”In some cases, sanctions are inevitable,” the Russian leader said after he and Obama held talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings.

Negotiations are scheduled for Oct. 1 between Iran and a group of six nations, including the U.S. and Russia, over its nuclear ambitions. Obama wants to pursue tougher sanctions if those meetings yield nothing. And yet Russia, which has close economic ties with Tehran, has stood in the way of stronger action against Iran in the past.

That made Medvedev’s admittedly muted support for sanctions bigger news, and something that pleased the White House.

”Unfortunately, Iran has been violating too many of its international commitments,” Obama said. ”What we’ve discussed is how we can move in a positive direction that can resolve a potential crisis.”

He and Medvedev share the goal of allowing Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear energy, but not nuclear weapons, Obama said. ”This should be resolved diplomatically and I am on record as being committed to negotiate with Iran in a serious fashion to resolve this issue.”

However, if Iran does not respond during negotiations, ”serious additional sanctions remain a possibility,” Obama said.

Medvedev said Russia and the U.S. could help ensure success by providing incentives for Iran to comply. He did not elaborate.

Too early to say whether this will result in anything, but if a war that nobody can afford is to be avoided, Russian cooperation is essential so this is a hopeful sign.

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