Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says new sanctions against Iran for
refusing to scrap its nuclear weapons program may be inevitable.
Mr. Medvedev told reporters after talks Wednesday with U.S. President Barack Obama that sanctions are rarely productive. But he said in some cases, such penalties are unavoidable.
The Russian president said the task of the United States and Russia is to provide Iran with incentives to develop nuclear energy for peaceful civilian purposes while ensuring it will not build a nuclear bomb.
Russia is a traditional Iranian ally and has so far been lukewarm on backing sanctions.
President Obama said Iran has been violating too many of its international obligations and that tougher sanctions may be needed.
Later, Mr. Medvedev told the United Nations General Assembly that Russia will follow the path of verifiable and irreversible cuts in nuclear weapons.
U.S. and Russian negotiators are working on a new arms agreement to replace the 1991 START treaty, which expires in December.
Mr. Medvedev said the talks are off to a good start and that a new treaty may be ready by the end of the year.
The Russian president also said Mr. Obama's decision to scrap a U.S. missile defense system in central Europe is a constructive step. He expressed Russia's readiness to take part in new missile defense talks.