Clinton in Russia

By United Press International  |  Oct. 14, 2009 at 8:31 AM
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MOSCOW, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cited concern over efforts to rein in human rights defenders in Russia.

Clinton, wrapping up a two-day stop in Moscow, told university students she has "concerns" about efforts to stop dissenters from challenging what they see as government abuse of rights.

During the first part of her stop, Clinton seemed optimistic that Russia would support efforts to make sure Iran didn't develop nuclear weapons. As the day went on, however, comments from Russian officials seemed to back away from strongly supporting U.S. positions regarding Tehran.

While saying Moscow's diplomatic positions "coincide" with the Americans' on Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said threats of economic sanctions against Tehran were "counterproductive."

The United States is among countries that suggested tough economic sanctions be imposed on Iran if it is not more forthcoming to international inspectors regarding its nuclear program.

The diplomats said there is hope negotiations with Iranian leaders bring about guarantees there is no weapons aspect to Tehran's nuclear program.

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