Russia says won’t back “crippling” Iran sanctions

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A senior Russian diplomat warned the West on Wednesday against trying to paralyze Iran by targeting the Islamic Republic’s energy and banking sectors with crippling sanctions.

Russia has in recent weeks signaled growing frustration with Iran over its nuclear program, though Moscow has given few indications about what sanctions it might be prepared to sign up to in the United Nations Security Council.

The United States has said it hopes to see sanctions against Iran in a matter of weeks and Israel has pressed Russia to back crippling sanctions, though the Kremlin has steered clear of openly supporting calls for further U.N. sanctions.

Oleg Rozhkov, the deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s security affairs and disarmament department, said Moscow would only consider sanctions aimed at strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

“Call them what you want — crippling or paralyzing — we are not got going to work on sanctions or measures which could lead to the political or economic or financial isolation of this country,” Rozhkov told reporters in Moscow.

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