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Russia Says Talk of Sanctions Against Iran Premature

  • VOA News

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov says it is premature to talk about U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Ivanov told reporters Friday that efforts to resolve the dispute through negotiations should be given more time.

The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana says that the EU is seeking new talks with Iran to clarify Tehran's response to a package of incentives. World powers offered the incentives if Iran suspended uranium enrichment.

Earlier today, French President Jacques Chirac called Iran's response "ambiguous."

A State Department spokesman Gonzago Gallegos said Washington will push for sanctions if Iran does not halt the sensitive nuclear work by an August 31st UN deadline.

In Tehran, Ahmad Khatami, a senior cleric, said Iran rejects what he called "the language of force."

Meanwhile, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told a gathering in Tokyo today that mounting pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear program is threatening to create another crisis in the Middle East.

Khatami -- a reformist who was Iran's president from 1997 to 2005 -- repeated Tehran's claim that its nuclear program is for peaceful uses and not weapons, as the West alleges.

Khatami is scheduled to visit Washington next month.
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