Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says it is premature to discuss
sanctions against Iran for its controversial nuclear program.
Mr. Putin told reporters in Beijing Wednesday that there is no need to
frighten the Iranians with such talk. He stressed there is instead a
need to compromise and reach agreements. The Russian prime minister
said if talks do not take place or if they "end in a fiasco, we can
speak of further steps."
His comments came a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
said imposing sanctions against Tehran at this stage would be
After discussing the issue with Lavrov in Moscow, U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton also said it is not yet time for additional
sanctions. She added that the U.S. is still considering such measures
if diplomacy proves unsuccessful.
Clinton also emphasized both Moscow and Washington agree that Iran is
entitled to peaceful nuclear energy, but not nuclear weapons.
Last month, the Russian president said sanctions in some cases are
inevitable. U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the statement. Some
analysts called it a shift in approach by Moscow, which has long
opposed tough sanctions on Iran.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation that
will make it easier for U.S. states, local governments and pension
funds to end investments in companies helping Iran's energy sector. The
bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for approval.
Iranian diplomats have agreed to meet with officials from the U.S.,
France, Russia and the United Nations to work out a plan for enriching
uranium abroad. The talks are set for October 19 in Vienna.
The uranium would be enriched to a low level needed for energy and
research purposes, which Iran says are its only nuclear aims. A much
higher level of enrichment is needed to create nuclear weapons.