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Russia won't back sanctions against Iran

Russia won't back sanctions against Iran
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) shakes hand with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) as Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr looks on during a meeting in Tehran, Iran on October 30, 2007. (UPI Photo/Mohammad Kheirkhah) . | License Photo

MOSCOW, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Russia won't back any new round of sanctions against Iran that come before the U.N. Security Council, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

After U.S. officials warned Iran could have enough enriched uranium to make a bomb if processed further, Lavrov said negotiations should begin without any timetable, something the United States had sought, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

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Obama set a deadline of September for progress on talks with Iran, and the United States and allies planned to develop a consensus about sanctions before the U.N. General Assembly ends its meeting in New York in two weeks. Russia has veto power on the Security Council.

"I do not think those sanctions will be approved by the United Nations Security Council," Lavrov said Thursday in remarks before an annual meeting of Russia experts known as the Valdai Club.

Senior U.S. officials Thursday said Iran's proposal submitted on Wednesday lacked substance and did not answer questions about the country's nuclear fuel production or address a timetable for talks.

Lavrov disagreed with the U.S. assessment, contending Iran's proposal had "something there to use." The document was submitted to U.N. Security Council members United States, Russia, China, France and Britain, as well as Germany.

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"They need an equal place in this regional dialogue," Lavrov said. "Iran is a partner that has never harmed Russia in any way."

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