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Russia: Unilateral Sanctions, Threat of Military Action Hamper Iran Nuclear Negotiations

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says unilateral sanctions and the threat of military action against Iran hamper negotiations with Tehran on its nuclear program.

Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that collective efforts would be more effective if there are no parallel steps on sanctioning Iran.

Rice said the U.S. will sanction Iranian entities and individuals under American law. She said the United States and its allies want to have Iran engage in negotiations.

Before arriving in Moscow, Rice said Iran has deliberately deceived the International Atomic Energy Agency.

On Thursday, Iran and the U.N. nuclear agency wrapped up three days of talks on Tehran's nuclear program. Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator Javad Vaeedi said talks will continue next week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow has not seen any objective evidence that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to stop uranium enrichment. But world powers have agreed to put off until November efforts to seek a third set of sanctions, to see if Iran's talks with the IAEA produce results.

Secretary Rice said the United States is supporting the European Union diplomacy led by Javier Solana and the IAEA.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build atomic weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran denies the charge.