Russian not willing to take coercive steps against Iran

NY Times:

Russia’s defense minister said Friday that it was premature to consider punitive actions against Iran despite its refusal so far to suspend its efforts to enrich uranium as the United Nations Security Council has demanded.

Although Russia agreed to the Security Council’s resolution on July 31, Defense Minister Sergei B. Ivanov’s remarks made it clear that Russia would not support taking the next step that the United States and Britain have called for: imposing sanctions against Iran or its leaders over its nuclear programs. The Council set Aug. 31 as the deadline for Iran to respond to its demand.

Russia has repeatedly expressed opposition to punitive steps, even as President Vladimir V. Putin and others have called on Iran to cooperate with international inspectors and suspend its enrichment activity.

But on Friday Mr. Ivanov went further, saying the issue was not “so urgent” that the Security Council should consider sanctions and expressing doubt that they would work in any case.

“I know of no cases in international practice or the whole of previous experience when sanctions achieved their goals or were efficient,” Mr. Ivanov, a close ally of Mr. Putin who also serves as deputy prime minister, said in televised remarks in the Far East.

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Actually, South Africa comes to mind as a place that they not only worked, but once the Apartheid regime fell the country gave up its nukes. I guess the Russians may have a short term memory problem. It is a little surprising that they are so opposed to a sanctions regime sine the Russians profitied handsomely from Saddam's oil for food scam that was based on sanctions.

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